Canadian research on flu vaccine

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by tansy, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. tansy

    tansy New Member

    Flu jab that costs £115m a year does not cut death rate in elderly

    By Jenny Hope
    Last updated at 10:40 PM on 29th August 2008

    Flu vaccinations cost the government £115million each year

    Having a flu jab does not cut the death rate among the elderly, claim researchers.

    They say vaccination has a virtually non-existent effect on the risk of dying prematurely and that previous studies have ' exaggerated' the apparent benefits.

    A study of 700 pensioners suffering pneumonia, a complication of flu, suggested those who had taken the jab were indeed less likely to die than those who were unvaccinated.

    But closer analysis showed those who were vaccinated were healthier and more likely to look after themselves in the first place - which means they were less at risk of dying from flu-related complications.

    The study looked at data on 700 Canadians aged 65 and over. Half had taken the vaccine and half had not, but they were all admitted to hospital for pneumonia.

    Researchers from the University of Alberta found 12 per cent of patients died after a hospital stay of eight days on average.

    Those who had been vaccinated were half as likely to die as unvaccinatedpatients - a finding consistent-with the benefits shown in previous studies.

    However, researchers then examined the patients' clinical records, and factors including age, sex, smoking, frailty and socioeconomic status.

    After these were taken into account, the relative risk of death was reduced by a 'statistically nonsignificant' amount, says the study published yesterday in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

    Dr Dean Eurich, of the university's school of public health, said it was 'implausible' that vaccination was halving the mortality rate among flu victims.

    Researchers suggested previous studies had not considered sufficiently that vaccinated patients who survived were probably healthier and better able to combat flulike complications than unvaccinated ones who died.

    But it is difficult to prove the so-called 'healthy-user' effect, they said.

    Dr Sumit Majumdar, associate professor in the university's faculty of medicine and dentistry, said: 'It is seen in what doctors often refer to as their "good patients".' They are well-informed about their health and look after themselves, 'and quite religiously get vaccinated each year so as to stay healthy'.

    He advised those with respiratory or immune diseases to still get vaccinated, along with those taking care of the elderly.

    A Department of Health spokesman said: 'Studies show flu vaccines give about 70 to 80 per cent protection against flu infection. That is why it is recommended to those aged over 65 and those in an at-risk group.'

    Dr Majumdar advised people with respiratory or immune diseases to still get vaccinated, along with those taking care of elderly people.

    'But you also need to take care of yourself' he added 'because flu vaccine is not as effective as people have been thinking it is.'

    The researchers claim that 'clearly inflated and erroneous' findings of the benefits of flu jabs from previous studies have done patients a disservice by stifling efforts at finding better vaccines, especially for the elderly.

    In November, the jab's co-inventor Australian biochemist Dr Graeme Laver told the Daily Mail the jab did not guarantee protection.

    He said 'I have never been very impressed with its efficacy.

    'It is better than nothing and I wouldn't want to advise people not to take it, but you can't rely on it doing any good.'

    A UK Health Protection Agency study also suggested that flu jabs did not reduce hospital admissions from respiratory infections.

    Plans to extend the flu jab programme to adults aged 50 to 65 and children under the age of two were given the thumbs down by three-quarters of GPs polled earlier this year.

    However, a Department of Health spokesman said: 'Studies show that flu vaccines give about 70 to 80 per cent protection against flu infection.

    'That is why it is recommended to those aged over 65 and those in an at risk group.

    'In the elderly, protection against infection may be less, but there is good evidence showing that immunisation reduces the incidence of bronchopneumonia, hospital admissions and mortality.

    'Many countries support flu vaccination programmes.

    'Uptake in older people in the UK is relatively high, being close to the 75 per cent target of the World Health Organization.'

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  2. angelscutoo

    angelscutoo New Member

    I get the shot every year since about 12 years ago when I had a horrid bout of the flu. I have at least not had that again. I am also diabetic and my doctor has insisted I have the shot. Wonder how many got the shot and still had the flu?
  3. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    What I never hear about, and you would think it would be sort of important, is the answer to the question: did they guess right for that year? They predict what strains of flu they think will be around the next year, and then they grow those strains for the vaccines.

    So they are always guessing as to what they think will be big flu strains for the next season. But nobody ever says what strains showed up in what numbers and if the last years flu shots covered those strains. Am I missing something or did they ignore that part of it for the study?

    Personally, I don't think the flu shots are worth a crap. But not just only because they guess and then never say if they guessed right or not. They probably don't, and if they did, then the above studies would show they aren't worth a crap even when they guess right. It's much safer and effective to make sure your guts/immune system is in good shape.

  4. tooks

    tooks Member

    One of my friends got CFS FROM a flu shot! Now she cannot even sit up for a minute without passing out and is completely disabled.

    I also had a very scary reaction to the last one I had--never again.