JUST HOW DANGEROUS IS THE FLU?
Every year, thousands of people fall victim to it in Australia – around 18,000 are hospitalised every year, with 3,500 deaths. This makes flu an epidemic that claims around a third of the lives that the recent Ebola epidemic did in West Africa. It’s a serious matter when the media, healthh insurance firms and the WHO all call for people to get a seasonal flu vaccination.
The official line from health authorities in Australia is that this is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus. Most doctors recommendd their patients get a flu jab – andd millions heed this advice, despite possible side effects like headaches, sore throats and muscle and limb pain.
The flu vaccination would bee seen as a true success story for the health and wellbeing off the nation – were it not for onee stark fact withheld from patients: it is entirely possible that flu vaccines have no effect at all. In reality there are a numberer of critical studies that raise doubt over the official line on flu vaccinations. A metaanalysis by the Cochrane Collaboration reviewed 36 individual studies and discovered that the annual flu vaccine had no proven effect on severe complications or thee number of flu-related hospital admissions. Margaret Mccarthy, a GP based in Glasgow, Scotland, has also flagged doubts about the effectiveness of flu vaccinations: “There is a lack of ‘quality evidence’ available on flu vaccination: the bottom line is we need better quality of evidence.” Studies have also shown that you need to vaccinate 100 people for just one person to benefit.
The Cochrane researchers also had problems with the official definition definition of a certain at-risk group: infants. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, downgraded the vaccine recommendation for children to six months. Their reasoning: there have also been many cases of flu in children – though an exact statistic related to infants is lacking. The Cochrane Collaboration found it strange that of the 52 studies they collected on flu infections in children, only two occupied themselves with infants. And these could not prove the vaccine’s efficacy. In fact, there was only one study which concerned itself with the safety of vaccines: it was over 30 years old and only studied 35 infants.
“There is not enough evidence to decide whether routine vaccination to prevent influenza in healthy adults is effective.” THE COCHRANE COLLABORATION