How Effective Are Flu Shots?

Dr Robert Hrisak head shot

Recently I wrote about the benefits of spinal manipulation in improving the body’s immune function.  What about the influenza vaccine?  The goal of vaccination is to stimulate the body’s immune system so that it is can resist a virus when exposed to it.  How well does the influenza vaccine work?  Writing in the New York Times on November 5, 2012, Roni Caryn Rabin describes the results of research on the effectiveness of influenza vaccines:  “Last month, in a step tantamount to heresy in the public health world, scientists at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota released a report saying that influenza vaccinations provide only modest protection for healthy young and middle-age adults, and little if any protection for those 65 and older, who are most likely to succumb to the illness or its complications.”  The scientists’ solution is to develop a better vaccine, but that will take years.  Ms. Rabin suggests “another option for those who want to reduce their risk of influenza and flu-like infection:  Wash your hands more often.  There is good evidence this works.”

Update:  The CDC estimates that this year’s flu vaccine was 56% effective overall but only 9% effective against Influenza A (H3N2) for those who are 65 years old and older.

Comments are closed.