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Is the Flu Vaccine Really ‘Working Well’ This Year?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

effectiveness of flu vaccine

Story at-a-glance -

  • According to interim estimates, the overall adjusted effectiveness of the 2018-19 flu vaccine against all influenza virus infection associated with acute respiratory illness (ARI) needing medical attention was 47 percent
  • Among adults over 50, the vaccine had a mere 24 percent effectiveness against all influenza types, and an abysmal 8 percent against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 infection, which was by far the most common type
  • Of all who came down with ARI, only 14 percent actually had influenza. In the vast majority of cases — 86 percent — their respiratory illness was caused by something other than an influenza virus
  • There are more than 200 viruses that cause influenza-like illness with identical symptoms as influenza, such as fever, headache, aches, pains, cough and runny nose. The flu vaccine does not prevent these illnesses
  • Research published last year found people who had received a flu shot and contracted influenza shed a greater amount of influenza viruses through their breath than unvaccinated people

According to interim estimates released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on February 15, 2019 — which uses data from 3,254 adults and children enrolled in the U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network between November 23, 2018, and February 2, 2019 — the overall adjusted effectiveness of the 2018-19 flu vaccine against all influenza virus infection associated with acute respiratory illness (ARI) needing medical attention was 47 percent.

While the media has played this up as "good news," and the CDC calls the results "encouraging," the fact of the matter is the vaccine failed to offer any protection more than half of the time, and for adults over 50, it's more or less useless.


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