Flu Vaccine not as effective as you might think
An October 27, 2011 article on NaturalNews.com contains the headline above and reports and explains the finding of a new study showing that flu shot vaccines are not as effective as they are being promoted by the pharmaceutical industry.
The original study on flu vaccine effectiveness was published in the October 26, 2011 issue of the prestigious scientific publication, The Lancet. The title of the Lancet article is "Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines: a systematic review and meta-analysis". The Lancet study is heavily steeped in statistical jargon and difficult to understand. The authors do offer a small section they termed "Interpretation" which includes the opening statement, "Influenza vaccines can provide moderate protection against virologically confirmed influenza, but such protection is greatly reduced or absent in some seasons. Evidence for protection in adults aged 65 years or older is lacking."
The Natural News article author, Mike Adams, sifts through the technical jargon and brought forth the meat of the Lancet article by noting in his opening comments, "A new scientific study published in The Lancet reveals that influenza vaccines only prevent influenza in 1.5 out of every 100 adults who are injected with the flu vaccine."
Adams remarks that the claim that the flu vaccine is 60% effective is based on using a trick in the percentages. He notes that these types of calculations are used by the vaccine and pharmaceutical industry on a regular basis. In the article, he uses the actual numbers from the Lancet study to prove his point.
Adams pointed out that in the Lancet study a "control group" of adults consisting of 13,095 non-vaccinated adults were monitored to see if they caught influenza. Of this group, 357 of them caught influenza, which means only 2.7% of these adults caught the flu. The treatment group who received the flu shot were also monitored. Out of the treatment group 1.18% also got the flu even after being vaccinated. This should mean that the real difference between the 2 groups is the the difference between 2.7% and 1.18%, or a total real difference of 1.52%, which is not a very impressive number.
However, as Adams points out, if you look at the percentage difference between the numbers 2.7 and 1.18 that comes out to be 0.43%, thus if you subtract that from 100% and claim that the vaccine is 57% effective. This fuzzy sounding math is sometimes called the "relative risk reduction" as opposed to the more accurate "absolute risk reduction".
Adams clearly states the real numbers in a summation statement of the Natural News article by saying, "So when the media (or your doctor, or pharmacist, or CDC official) says these vaccines are "60% effective," what they really mean is that you would have to inject 100 adults to avoid the flu in just 1.5 of them. Or, put another way, flu vaccines do nothing in 98.5% of adults."