Flu vaccine effectiveness study signals ‘no protection’ this year in Canada

Posted: 2015-11-15 22:01:09

This year’s flu vaccine offers little or no protection in Canada against becoming sick enough to require medical care, a study published Thursday suggests. “I would say overall it’s signalling no protection,” said lead author Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an influenza expert at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. The study, an interim estimate of this year’s flu vaccine effectiveness, was published Thursday in Eurosurveillance, an online journal belonging to the European Centre for Disease Control. Skowronski said the message people should take from the study is that if they are at high risk of developing pneumonia or getting seriously ill if they contract influenza, they should take other steps to protect their health. An interesting finding of the study is that people who did not get a flu shot last year appeared to get more protection from the vaccine this year than people who got shots both years. There is an emerging school of thought that repeated vaccination in some circumstances may actually undermine the protectiveness of the vaccine. Earlier this month the U.S. Centers for Disease Control published interim vaccine effectiveness data for that country. The flu season south of the border has been very similar to the one in Canada — almost all caused by H3N2 — and their early findings suggested the vaccine lowered a recipient’s risk of contracting the flu and getting sick enough to need medical care by 23 per cent. That’s well below the 50 to 70 per cent effectiveness estimate that is often cited for flu vaccine.

Note: A National Institute of Health study found in 2007 that flu shots do not protect the elderly. More recent studies have shown that some flu shots actually increase the risk of infection. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.

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