The other day I read an article on Fox News: “Flu Shot is only moderately protective this year,” CDC says. “Overall, getting a flu shot cuts one’s risk of contracting flu and needing to see a doctor by 48 percent this season, when the effectiveness of the various components of the vaccine were assessed together, according to the report published in the CDC’s online journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).”
Folks, you have to finish reading this blog post. I am going to show you why making a decision based on a news headline or a study abstract is completely useless.
I looked up the report to see how effective this years flu shot really is. The report can be found here. Reading the full report is a good way to give yourself a migraine. The report states “Interim estimates of vaccine effectiveness based on data collected from November 28, 2016, through February 4, 2017, indicate that overall the flu shot has been 48% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 37%–57%) effective in preventing influenza-related medical visits across all age groups…”
The news media picked up the 48% effectiveness number reported above. If you were to just read the headline you would think that 48% is pretty good. Of course I should take my child to get the flu shot. However, let me explain that number a little better. The 48% effectiveness claim is a relative risk number. The relative risk is a little bit of statistical magic used to make a poorly performing drug or vaccine look much better than it actually is.
Let me use a flu study example with easy numbers to explain relative risk vs. absolute risk. 1% of people in the study who got the flu shot developed flu like symptoms. In the same study’s control group, 2% of people who did not get the flu shot developed flu like symptoms. If you take (100% – (1%/2%)) you get 50%, or a relative risk reduction of 50%.
The absolute risk reduction, a much more accurate effectiveness measurement, would be 1% (2% of the control group minus 1% of the vaccine group). The absolute risk reduction is used to calculate the number needed to treat (NNT), or the number of patients who need to be treated to prevent one additional bad outcome. In this example, 100 people would need to get the flu shot to prevent 1 set of flu like symptoms; not hospitalizations, complications, or death, just flu like symptoms. The flu shot has NEVER been shown to reduce hospitalizations, complications, pneumonia, or death. There is a great book written on the data deception used in many medical treatments called “Doctoring Data”.
According to the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews:
“The available evidence is of poor quality and provides no guidance regarding the safety, efficacy or effectiveness of influenza vaccines for people aged 65 years or older.”
According to the Cochrane Collaboration, the gold standard of research, the flu vaccine provides absolutely zero protection for people over 65. What did the government decide to do with this information? Well if 1 shot doesn’t work we should give elderly people 4 shots or a quadruple dose. I am not joking and this shot is called Fluzone.
Let me give you an exact example. A study compared Fluzone to the regular flu shot; the studies conclusion was that Fluzone was 24% more effective than the regular flu shot. How did they reach these numbers?
32,ooo people studied
% who got the flu: 1.89% regular flu shot vs 1.43% quadruple flu shot
Relative risk reduction = 100% – (1.43/1.89) = 24%
Absolute risk reduction or actual difference = 1.89% – 1.43% = 0.46%
NNT = 217 people need to get the high dose vaccine to prevent 1 case of flu
Again, the NNT is the number needed to prevent 1 case of flu like symptoms, not serious complications. The flu shot has never been shown to prevent serious complications!
So the 1% absolute effectiveness and the 1 in 100 NNT are terrible but it gets worse. Since the study participants “picked” their group and were not randomized into the control or test group, these number don’t even include the healthy user effect or frailty bias. Healthier people who are more likely to be proactive with their health are more likely to get the flu shot. Unhealthier people are less likely to get the flu shot and more likely to get sick. Also, the sickest, most frail people can’t get the flu shot, then get the flu, and then researchers claim it is because they didn’t get the flu shot! The healthy user effect and frailty bias skew the numbers in favor of the flu shot, and yet the absolute risk benefit is only 1-2%.
You may be thinking this is only two examples, but every flu shot study available shows the same thing. All use the relative risk ratio to greatly exaggerate benefit!
Is it worth injecting yourself, your child, your baby, or your unborn fetus with thimerosol (mercury) or squalene for such a minuscule, or really non-existent, benefit? Think about how crazy this recommendation is: Pregnant women are not supposed to eat fish because of the potential harm to the fetus due to mercury. Pregnant women are then recommended the flu shot which injects mercury directly into the blood stream. There has never been a study on the safety and/or efficacy of the flu shot in pregnant women! And they like to claim “evidence based medicine….”
Here are 9 of the best ways to prevent not only the 3 strains of flu that are in a flu vaccine, but also the hundreds of other circulating cold and flu viruses.
1) Take a high quality vitamin D supplement. This is especially important for pregnant women, breast feeding women, infants, and children. I explain the benefits, dosages, and how to find quality vitamin D in this article.
2) Take a high quality probiotic. I explain in detail HERE.
3) Take a high quality omega-3 fat fish oil. Again, a full explanation can be found HERE.
4) Eat lots of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables.
5) Follow my Immune Boosting Healthy Eating Plan. You can download that for FREE below.
6) Don’t stress about pointless shit! Stress lowers the immune system. Be grateful!!
7) Exercise Daily. Exercise boosts your immune system.
8) Get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep increases stress which decreases immune function.
9) Wash your hands. DO NOT use hand sanitizer, just soap and water. Make it a habit every time you use the restroom.