Another flu shot myth crumbles
I've been called a heartless crank (and worse) for trying to stand between you and your flu shots -- especially for my position that babies and seniors in particular should avoid the shot at all costs.
Well, looks like I'm not the only "heartless crank" around anymore -- because a new editorial in Scientific American looks at the evidence for flu shots in the very young and very old and finds exactly what I've been saying all along: There is no evidence!
One study often quoted finds that vaccinated seniors are 44 percent less likely to die during flu season. That sounds great -- until you see the part not quoted so often... because the study also found that vaccinated seniors are 61 percent MORE likely to die before flu season even starts.
Another major study found absolutely no reduction in flu deaths among seniors in Italy as vaccination rates there climbed in the 1980s.
And if the evidence is thin for seniors, it's positively invisible for babies -- with a major review earlier this year finding that flu shots in the under-twos are no better than placebos.
The Scientific American article isn't perfect... they still seem to think everyone else might get at least some small benefit. But it's a lot smaller that most people realize -- with one major review last year confirming that the absolute reduction in flu risk is just 1.5 percent.
You're better off getting back to basics, because good hygiene and a strong immune system will beat the flu every time -- and they come with none of the risks of the vaccine.