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Jeff Sutherland

Twice the Energy with Half the Stress

Why this Doctor Doesn’t Get a Flu Shot

 The Cochran Collaboration disagrees with these “facts”!

Update: The New England Journal of Medicine reports 10% effectiveness for 1917-1918 flu shot.

Every once in a while a good doctor starts asking a lot of questions. Check out one of the best articles on the flu shot. The entire article is worth reading. Here is the medical summary:

“The best place to start a search for accurate medical information is usually the Cochrane database.

“Cochrane is a non-profit research organization based in the United Kingdom and they tend to be considered the gold standard in scientific medical research. Their reviews of the medical literature are comprehensive and carefully peer-reviewed.

“As my colleague, Mark Hyman, M.D., explains in an article, Flu Shot: Harmful or Helpful?: “One very reliable way to determine the effectiveness of the flu shot is to look at the database analysis presented by The Cochrane Collaboration, an independent group of scientists who have no link to any industry or government agencies.”

“So what does Cochrane have to say about the flu vaccine?

  1. It’s not effective for children under age 18 or for adults over 65.
  2. Between ages 18 to 65, it is only 30-50% effective in an average year (which means it fails between 50-70% of the time) and up to 80% in a perfectly matched year (a much lower number than most vaccines).
  3. There is no decrease in flu transmission rate or hospitalization rate for people who have gotten the flu vaccine.

“Ut oh.

“Here is the Cochrane review’s results and conclusions so you can read them yourself:

MAIN RESULTS: We included 50 reports. Forty (59 sub-studies) were clinical trials of over 70,000 people. Eight were comparative non-RCTs and assessed serious harms. Two were reports of harms which could not be introduced in the data analysis. In the relatively uncommon circumstance of vaccine matching the viral circulating strain and high circulation, 4% of unvaccinated people versus 1% of vaccinated people developed influenza symptoms (risk difference (RD) 3%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2% to 5%). The corresponding figures for poor vaccine matching were 2% and 1% (RD 1, 95% CI 0% to 3%). These differences were not likely to be due to chance. Vaccination had a modest effect on time off work and had no effect on hospital admissions or complication rates. Inactivated vaccines caused local harms and an estimated 1.6 additional cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome per million vaccinations. The harms evidence base is limited.