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Do Flu Vacinations Work?

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Old 10-25-2009, 04:47 PM
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This article is giving me second thoughts. It appears it has never been properly studied for Flu - I heard in a separate story, main reason they keep doing it is they are afraid that if they admit it is marginally or non-effective they are afraid people will stop getting polio and other childhood disease vaccines as happened with the last swine flu scare.

Apparantly only low risk or good health populations in general get the shots....there have never been blind or placebo type studies...

".....Such comparisons have shown a dramatic difference in mortality between these two groups: study after study has found that people who get a flu shot in the fall are about half as likely to die that winter—from any cause—as people who do not. Get your flu shot each year, the literature suggests, and you will dramatically reduce your chance of dying during flu season.
Yet in the view of several vaccine skeptics, this claim is suspicious on its face. Influenza causes only a small minority of all deaths in the U.S., even among senior citizens, and even after adding in the deaths to which flu might have contributed indirectly. When researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases included all deaths from illnesses that flu aggravates, like lung disease or chronic heart failure, they found that flu accounts for, at most, 10 percent of winter deaths among the elderly. So how could flu vaccine possibly reduce total deaths by half? Tom Jefferson, a physician based in Rome and the head of the Vaccines Field at the Cochrane Collaboration, a highly respected international network of researchers who appraise medical evidence, says: “For a vaccine to reduce mortality by 50 percent and up to 90 percent in some studies means it has to prevent deaths not just from influenza, but also from falls, fires, heart disease, strokes, and car accidents. That’s not a vaccine, that’s a miracle.”
The estimate of 50 percent mortality reduction is based on “cohort studies,” which compare death rates in large groups, or cohorts, of people who choose to be vaccinated, against death rates in groups who don’t. But people who choose to be vaccinated may differ in many important respects from people who go unvaccinated—and those differences can influence the chance of death during flu season. Education, lifestyle, income, and many other “confounding” factors can come into play, and as a result, cohort studies are notoriously prone to bias. When researchers crunch the numbers, they typically try to factor out variables that could bias the results, but, as Jefferson remarks, “you can adjust for the confounders you know about, not for the ones you don’t,” and researchers can’t always anticipate what factors are likely to be important to whether a patient dies from flu. There is always the chance that they might miss some critical confounder that renders their results entirely wrong. "

Whole article and infor on scientific shortcommings of past studies is here...

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200911/brownlee-h1n1

I owuld probably get one if offered - the downside is almost nothing - but this is a point of view I never heard of before - gotta wonder......
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Old 10-25-2009, 05:11 PM
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I'm a physician and I get the seasonal flu shot every year. When and if the Swine flu vaccine shows up, I'll get that shot also.

I care for adults and children. I can't bear the thought of transmitting the bug to anybody and having them have received it from me. Especially the kids. (They seem vulnerable to this current swine H1N1 thing) You are most infectious just before you get symptoms, so passing it along is largely not in your control. (No matter how you are taught to sneeze into your hand or elbow or whatever) Good hygiene helps, but viruses keep coming.

I get the vaccine for selfish reasons. About ten years ago, in my 40's, I got the flu. Real bad. Felt like I'd been beaten with a lead pipe. Real sick. Actually had to be in bed for a day or so. I was so impressed with how sick I got, I vowed I would get the shot every year thereafter. I've had the flu other times prior, but never got that sick before. My experience (Total population=1 patient) tells me the shot has worked!!!!

I'm not getting any younger and just don't handle crap like I used to be able to. Even pain bothers me more now than it used to.

The article is pretty good about several issues. Claims of reductions in death by 50% for those getting the flu shot are ridiculous. As the physician in the article says, that's not a vaccine, that's a miracle.

The article also addresses "speculative" use of medicines without awaiting the results of clinical trials. This is also true. I've seen a number of rushes to advancement with all kinds of therapies the past 30 years. Not all are borne out by the science and eventually sanity returns to clinical regimens. Epidemiology is a stastical based science. (Yes it really does base itsself of scientific principles) Certain vaccines are absolutely worth immunization. Small Pox, MeaslesMumpsRubella, diptheria, tetanus, polio etc are scourges no one with any sanity wishes to deal with.

All that being said, the flu shot (seasonal or H1N1) is highly likely to reduce the chance of you getting "that strain" of flu. There is likely some benefit to a reduction in symptoms and severity if you acquire a mutated version of those strains. Flu vaccines do work, but they are not a panacea. There are lot's of viruses causing flu like symptoms and URI/s and GI troubles that have similar symptoms to the influenza virus.

I get the shot. You may or may no wish to get the shot. Hope your Doctor/Nurse/labtech/emt/cop or anyother hands on public type gets the shot. If you get sick, don't go to work and spread the disease. Kids everywhere are counting on you doing the right thing.
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Old 10-25-2009, 05:16 PM
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Last time I got a flu shot I was sick for 6 months.
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Old 10-25-2009, 06:27 PM
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I got the flu shot thru the town while I was on the FD for 12 years. Only once in that time did I get a mild case of the flu.

I'll get the normal one when the hype wears down.

I'm a pig but I'll get that one also providing I don't have to stand in line like cattle waiting for a WACK over the head with a sledge hammer.
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Old 10-25-2009, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by LI Sound Grunt View Post
T....they are afraid people will stop getting polio and other childhood disease vaccines as happened with the last swine flu scare.
I dont agree with that.

Originally Posted by LI Sound Grunt View Post
Yet in the view of several vaccine skeptics, ....When researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases included all deaths from illnesses that flu aggravates, like lung disease or chronic heart failure, they found that flu accounts for, at most, 10 percent of winter deaths among the elderly.
10% of winter deaths of elderly is still a big number.


I agree that some additional carefully controlled studies should be done but like you say, what is the downside? I have gotten a seasonal vaccine many times and have not gotten the flu that I can recall.
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Old 10-25-2009, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by boatmanalso View Post
Last time I got a flu shot I was sick for 6 months.
sick with what?
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:50 AM
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This is far from being a scientific study but, anybody that I know that gets the flu shot, gets the flu.......so there is no bloody way I’m rushing down to stand in the proverbial line up to get the flu. I don’t think I’ve ever had a flu shot and I’m still alive......notice I didn’t say I’m fine.

I think the system wants everyone to get flu shots for two reasons. One is they can collect our DNA and create a data base. Secondly I think they are adding ultra microscopic transmitter in the vaccine so they can track our every move on this planet.
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by DrJim View Post
I dont agree with that.



10% of winter deaths of elderly is still a big number.


I agree that some additional carefully controlled studies should be done but like you say, what is the downside? I have gotten a seasonal vaccine many times and have not gotten the flu that I can recall.
I read somwhere there is enough is more than 25 times the normal allowed amount of mercury in the vaccine.

My brother in law is an MD and he said he would not get it and that if you ask people that work in emergency rooms that most would not get it, because of all the people they see that come in right after getting the vaccine.
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Old 10-26-2009, 05:19 AM
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Too late for my family. My wife and son came down with it over the weekend
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by boatmanalso View Post
Last time I got a flu shot I was sick for 6 months.


The one year I got a flu shot (about 12 years ago) I was more sick from flues and colds than any other year.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:08 AM
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While I hate to discount Garetts wealth of anecdotal data, here is some actual data. You can consult the references in this article for much more data.

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/361/13/1260

There is a lot of statistical jargon. However, what is noteworthy is that in almost 2000 subjects, there were no significant adverse reactions to the vaccine. Also, the vaccine was effective. Interestingly, the shot was more effective than the spray, the article discusses possible reasons.

From this and other studies, it is clear that a good match is needed between the vaccine and the circulating strains. In years where they dont match, efficiency is poor, when they do match, efficiency is good.

For H1N1, so long as the virus does not mutate significantly, I would think the vaccine should work well.

Also, I believe, that even if only partial protection is conferred it could lessen illness severity even if it doesnt prevent it entirely.

The mercury issue has been beaten to death. I think they should just get rid of it for the sake of PR if nothing else.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:17 AM
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I have gotten the Flu Shot 2 years in the past with no ill effects and have not gotten the flu. I take it since I deal with alot of people that are very unhealthy and drug abusers... Homeless and prostitutes seem to be the worst...
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:42 AM
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I've receied the seasonal vaccine for several years and plan to get the H1N1 too. Only side effect was a sore left arm for a day or two. Wife did not get one and last year she got the flu and was sick as a dog. To me, the benefits out-weigh the downside. As long as it is my left arm, no sexual side effects either!
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:46 AM
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Ahhhhh Ahhhhh Ahhhhhhh




Ahhhh Ahhhh CHEWWWWW!!!!!!


....sniffle sniffle......
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:53 AM
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If you do not the vaccine you have to believe if your going to be dumb you have to tough.
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:16 AM
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WTF? Are you drunk?
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by hhi angler View Post
If you do not the vaccine you have to believe if your going to be dumb you have to tough.


Those ^^^^ words are English.... yet I can't make heads or tails of what it says

I don't get the seasonal flu shot.... never have....probably never will. I'm not getting the H1N1 flu shot either. I'm not in a high risk group (children, elderly or pregnant) so I'm not worried about it.

I happen to believe we are WAY over-medicated in this Country and I see no need to put something in my body that was developed in a lab to do the job my own immune system can do on its own. Again, I'm not in a high risk group, perhaps if I were I would consider it.
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:39 AM
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My statistical study is limited to just one person - me. I am one of the few people alive on this earth to have had Polio. Most of the other kids in the ward with me went on to iron lungs and then to their graves. That disease, like smallpox, used to kill large numbers of people, yet both diseases have since become unknown where people do get vaccinated. As such, I am in favor of vaccinations where possible.

I also get a flu shot every year, and have been doing so for as long as they have been available. I have yet to fall victim to the flu other than the annual soreness in one arm. I certainly understand that vaccinations of any type are not without some risk, but to me, the rewards far outweigh the risks.

But I also figure the more people who don't get the shot, the more room there is at the ramp in flu season!
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:47 AM
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Kids & I get them every year for many years-15 maybe? Wifey did it once and got sick so no more for her


We all went down 1 year and I vowed to avoid that as much as possible-especially since it in my busy season and cant afford to be out sick

had ours this year early Oct-now oldes kid had the fever/congestion for last 3 days-no fever today

I believe h1n1 will be given out at school this week for high schoolers
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:48 AM
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I get it every year. Have not had the flu in 15 years
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