In healthy adults the best evidence is that, on average, flu vaccination of a population prevents 0.1 per cent of a working day lost.
There is general agreement among medical experts that flu immunization is unquestionably a major life saver.
Dr David Salisbury, the director of immunization at the UK Department of Health, said just last night: “Flu vaccine is the best way to protect against influenza, and that is why countries around the world use these vaccines to protect their vulnerable communities.
“We know that flu vaccines can give up to 70 to 80 per cent protection against infection.”
Well, there you go. Only a few quacks like myself and a handful of others in the alternative health community would argue differently, right?
Just today, the British Medical Journal published the results of a study led by Dr. Tom Jefferson, the coordinator of the vaccines section of the Cochrane Collaboration, an independent group that reviews research and tests the validity of immunization programs.
As Dr. Jefferson said, “I have looked at the facts. All I can say is that I have not found the evidence.”
The Study’s Conclusions?
In infants up to two, vaccination was no better than placebo and in older children, there was little evidence of benefit.
Nor is there enough evidence of benefit among people with chronic chest problems, asthma and cystic fibrosis.
In healthy adults the best evidence was that, on average, flu vaccination of a population would prevent 0.1 per cent of a working day lost.
Only among people who suffer bronchitis could the study find good evidence that flu vaccination was worthwhile.
As Dr. Jefferson said, “The large gap between policy and what the data tells us is surprising.”