The Evidence is In: Flu vaccines are ineffective at best
November 3, 2006 304 0
About 85% of medicine is not evidence based, despite protestations of medical boards and physicians. The effectiveness of flu vaccines is one of the areas where evidence is most lacking. Opinion, assertion, and bombastic pronouncements without solid evidence to support clinical statements is pervasive.
The only thing that is well documented about flu vaccines is some of their negative side effects. This problem is now reaching the medical journals. Is this the next menopausal hormone therapy or VIOXX myth to be exploded?
T. Jefferson, “Influenza vaccination: policy versus evidence,” British Medical Journal, vol. 333, pp. 912-915, October 28, 2006 2006.
- Public policy worldwide recommends the use of inactivated influenza vaccines to prevent seasonal outbreaks
- Because viral circulation and antigenic match vary each year and non-randomised studies predominate, systematic reviews of large datasets from several decades provide the best information on vaccine performance
- Evidence from systematic reviews shows that inactivated vaccines have little or no effect on the effects measured
- Most studies are of poor methodological quality and the impact of confounders is high
- Little comparative evidence exists on the safety of these vaccines
- Reasons for the current gap between policy and evidence are unclear, but given the huge resources involved, a re-evaluation should be urgently undertaken
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