Every season, millions of people follow the advice of health officials and line up to receive their annual flu vaccination. Our government health officials, along with doctors and medical professionals alike, tell us that the flu shot will prevent us from the many highly contagious strains of influenza which are circling the globe- and which may, or may not, come our way. Were they right? Not completely so, says one of the world’s most respected medical journals, The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
They have just released and made public a study which focuses on the effectiveness of the flu shot, dating all the way back to the mid 1960’s.
This report, titled “Efficacy and effectiveness of Influenza Vaccines: A systematic review and meta-analysis” states, “Flu shots prevent only 59% of infections in adults.” However, this does not mean that 59 out of every 100 adults are protected against the flu. This percentage represents a “pooled efficacy of 59% in adults aged 18 to 65 years.”
Even more, they also state, “Evidence for protection in adults aged 65 years or older is lacking.” The study did reveal that children aged 6 months to 7 years old revealed the highest efficacy of the flu vaccine. So, does the flu vaccination greatly reduce the number of hospitalizations due to influenza? The answer is, yes-by a mere 8%.
Head researcher, Micheal Osterholm, has since stated, “We have an obligation to tell the public what we know. We know we need better vaccines.”
Osterholm’s research team has come to a conclusion that, “Influenza vaccines can provide moderate protection against virologically confirmed influenza, but such protection is greatly reduced or absent in some seasons. Evidence for protection in adults aged 65 years and older is lacking.” These recent findings about the flu shot are making waves in the medical field around the globe.
The real solution that medical professionals either 1) don’t know, or 2) don’t care to share, lies within the state of our immune systems. That is, staying healthy by eating right and keeping physically fit. This, along with taking a few preventative measures (ie. Washing hands, coughing in your sleeve, etc.) will make a significant difference in your body’s ability to fight influenza, no matter your age.