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[–] axolotl__peyotl [S] 0 points 9 points (+9|-0) ago 

Influencing Influenza

Originally developed in the 1940s, the influenza vaccine is strongly encouraged for nearly everyone over the age of 6 months. About 170 million doses were expected to be produced for the U.S. market during the 2015/2016 flu season, compared to 32 million in 1990.

Annual vaccination against seasonal influenza reduces protective immunity against more virulent strains. People who are naturally exposed to circulating influenza viruses (the unvaccinated) frequently gain cross-protection against other strains of the disease.

Vaccinated people are denied this benefit.

Preventing infection with seasonal influenza viruses by vaccination might prevent the induction of heterosubtypic immunity to pandemic strains, which might be a disadvantage to immunologically naive people--eg, infants.

Prior receipt of 2008-09 TIV trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine was associated with increased risk of medically attended pH1N1 illness during the spring-summer 2009.

These findings may have implications for the general recommendation to vaccinate all healthy children against seasonal influenza.

Annual vaccination may hamper the development of cross-reactive immunity against influenza A viruses of novel subtypes, that would otherwise be induced by natural infection.

The CDC policy of vaccinating pregnant women is not supported by science. Pregnant women vaccinated against seasonal influenza and A-H1N1 swine flu had high rates of spontaneous abortions.

The ACIP's recommendation of influenza vaccination during pregnancy is not supported by citations in its own policy paper (pdf) or in current medical literature. Considering the potential risks of maternal and fetal mercury exposure, the administration of thimerosal during pregnancy is both unjustified and unwise.

The current season's influenza vaccine will not work in people who also received the previous season's vaccine:

In vaccinated subjects with no evidence of prior season vaccination, significant protection (62%) against community-acquired influenza was demonstrated. Substantially lower effectiveness was noted among subjects who were vaccinated in both the current and prior season. There was no evidence that vaccination prevented household transmission once influenza was introduced; adults were at particular risk despite vaccination.

The influenza vaccine is not very effective, causes adverse reactions, and can spread disease to other people. This study (pdf) analyzed 18 years of data and concluded that the influenza vaccine has little or no effectiveness for preventing influenza cases, hospital admissions, or deaths.

Another study determined that “the manufacturers' refusal to release all safety outcome data from trials carried out in young children, together with obvious reporting bias and inconsistencies in the primary studies does not bode well for a fair assessment of the safety of live attenuated vaccines.”

In an assessment of the efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines in healthy children, there was “no convincing evidence that vaccines can reduce mortality, admissions, serious complications, and community transmission of influenza.”

Children who receive an inactivated influenza vaccine are significantly more likely than non-vaccinated children to be hospitalized:

We found a threefold increased risk of hospitalization in subjects who did get trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine.

Children vaccinated against seasonal influenza are more likely to develop respiratory virus infections.

Handwashing and teaching proper hygiene may be more effective than vaccines at reducing the spread of influenza and other respiratory viruses:

The disparity in effectiveness between the high profile of influenza vaccines and antivirals and the low profile of physical interventions is striking. Public health recommendations are almost completely based on the use of vaccines and antivirals despite a lack of strong evidence.

We could not correlate increasing vaccination coverage after 1980 with declining mortality rates in any age group...we conclude that observational studies substantially overestimate vaccination benefit.

There is no unbiased scientific evidence that influenza vaccines improve death rates in the elderly.

Vaccinating healthcare workers against influenza to protect their elderly patients is not effective:

Vaccinating healthcare workers who care for those aged 60 or over in long-term institutions showed no effect on laboratory-proven influenza or complications.

Mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers to protect their patients is not supported by science:

The studies aiming to prove the widespread belief that healthcare worker vaccination decreases patient morbidity and mortality are heavily flawed and the recommendations for vaccination biased.

Influenza vaccine studies and their conclusions rarely match the actual data that is in those studies:

Most of our studies (70%) were of poor quality with overoptimistic conclusions—that is, not supported by the data presented. Those sponsored by industry had greater visibility as they were more likely to be published by high impact factor journals and were likely to be given higher prominence by the international scientific and lay media.

There is no good evidence that vaccines reduce serious complications of influenza. Moreover, promotional messages conflate "influenza" (disease caused by influenza viruses) with "flu" (a syndrome with many causes, of which influenza viruses appear to be a minor contributor).

This lack of precision causes physicians and potential vaccine recipients to have unrealistic assumptions about the vaccine's potential benefit, and impedes dissemination of the evidence on nonpharmaceutical interventions against respiratory diseases. In addition, there are potential vaccine-related harms, as unexpected and serious adverse effects of influenza vaccines have occurred.

Closer examination of influenza vaccine policies shows that although proponents employ the rhetoric of science, the studies underlying the policy are often of low quality, and do not substantiate officials’ claims. The vaccine might be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and the threat of influenza appears overstated.

Are US flu death figures more PR than science?

US data on influenza deaths are a mess. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges a difference between flu death and flu associated death yet uses the terms interchangeably.

Additionally, there are significant statistical incompatibilities between official estimates and national vital statistics data. Compounding these problems is a marketing of fear—a CDC communications strategy in which medical experts “predict dire outcomes” during flu seasons.