Flu Shot ‘Virtually Worthless’ By End of 2018-2019 Flu Season

by Jul 8, 2019Health & Vaccines17 comments

A senior woman receiving a vaccination from her doctor. (CDC/Public Domain)

The CDC continues to recommend the flu shot despite its own estimate of vaccine effectiveness showing it to be highly ineffective.

The influenza vaccine was “a big disappointment again” this flu season, in the words of the Associated Press, with an overall effectiveness of just 29 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The flu shot was only about 47 percent, by the CDC’s estimate, for the first part of the season, through mid-February. Things got worse from there, with the shot becoming “virtually worthless” thereafter, to again quote from the AP, with a vaccine effectiveness of just 9 percent.

As the AP further notes, most vaccines “are not considered successful unless they are at least 90% effective”, whereas the “flu vaccine has averaged around 40%.”

Obligatorily, the AP relays the message from public health officials that “the vaccine is still worthwhile since it works against some strains”, but this is a non sequitur fallacy. It does not follow from the fact that the vaccine might offer some protection against some strains of influenza that therefore it is worthwhile.

In fact, the “very high cost of yearly vaccination for large parts of the population” was among the considerations of a 2014 Cochrane meta-analysis that concluded that the results of a systematic review of existing studies “provide no evidence for the utilization of vaccination against influenza in healthy adults as a routine public health measure.”

A randomized controlled trial studying the cost effectiveness of influenza vaccination in healthy adults under aged 65 published in JAMA in 2000 found that this practice “is unlikely to provide societal economic benefit in most years”—when it generated greater costs than to not vaccinate.

Furthermore, studies have shown how getting a flu shot annually can actually increase your risk of influenza illness, as well as other respiratory illnesses.

According to the CDC, the strain of influenza A (H1N1) that emerged during the pandemic year of 2009 dominated circulation in the US through mid-February. But from Mid-February through mid-May, the dominant strain was influenza A(H3N2).

The vaccine fared so poorly against influenza despite the fact that it was designed to protect against both of these strains.

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About Jeremy R. Hammond

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17 Comments

  1. codetalker

    I wonder what the vaccine uptake is? Years ago the CDC used to brag about how Flu Vaccine uptake was a certain percentage higher than it was the previous year. Now, no stats. Things that make you go hmmm!!!

    Reply
  2. Rtp

    The official data shows the flu vaccine is mostly worthless but in reality it, like all other vaccines, is actually completely worthless.

    The only reason any vaccine appears to work is because of a self-fulfilling prophecy – most doctors simply refuse to diagnose (or test for) the condition if the patient is vaccinated for it. The more faith that doctors have in the vaccine, the less likely they are to diagnose the condition in the vaccinated – leading to data that makes it look like the vaccine actually works when it is in fact completely useless. This problem is exacerbated by the (inconsistent) use of lab tests (we didn’t do a lot of pathology testing of measles or flu patients in 1950 but today we often require it).

    I suspect the reason for the difference in doctors’ low level of faith in the flu shot vs their high level of faith in the measles shot is because they see “flu” symptoms all the time and measles symptoms much less commonly (although still vastly more common than measles data suggests). It is therefore easy for doctors to delude themselves that the measles shot works because they don’t see rashes in their patients (vaccinated or otherwise) that often. With the flu they see it all the time – vaccinated or not – so they find it hard to delude themselves (and they are pretty good at deluding themselves) that the flu shot is particularly effective. Hence, doctors will diagnose flu even in the vaccinated. Hence, even the official data indicates that the flu shot is worthless. But its efficacy is exactly the same as for the measles (or polio or smallpox or diphtheria or rabies etc) shot. Zero.

    Reply
    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      The only reason any vaccine appears to work is because of a self-fulfilling prophecy…

      This is true to an extent. Doctors are presumably less likely to diagnose whooping cough if the patient was vaccinated for pertussis, for example, and I have read studies acknowledging this potential bias in reporting. However, there is no question that, e.g., the measles vaccine “works” to reduce incidence of measles. There are, however, opportunity costs among other considerations that public vaccine policymakers completely ignore.

      Reply
      • Rtp

        If doctors are biased against diagnosing measles and it is much harder to diagnose measles today (because we require lab confirmation – at least for sporadic cases) how can anybody be sure that the vaccine has worked at all?

        The only way to evaluate the vaccine is to look at proxy data that is not subject to these diagnostic biases of doctors. And that is exactly what I have done – and I have done this as best I can for all so-called vaccine prevenable diseases.

        Unfortunately we don’t have useful data on total number of rashes (that would have previously been called measles (or chickenpox)) because most cases don’t and didn’t see a doctor and the alternative diagnoses (roseola, 5th disease, hand foot and mouth, impetigo, eczema, psoriasis etc) are not notifiable diseases. But it is worth noting that so-called complications of measles, mumps and rubella (total rates of encephalitis, deafness, sterility and congenital defects) do not appear to have fallen since we vaccinated against them. That leaves us with two possibilities: a) the vaccines are useless; or b) those diseases were never the cause of such complications in the first place.

        Well three possibilities actually – both a) and b).

        I also had a look at data on spending on dermatologists (who are commonly sought after for things like psoriasis). If our skyrocketing spending on dermatologists is anything to go by then the overall prevalence of various kinds of rashes certainly isn’t falling.

        I have the links of course to this data. Like I said, I have done the best I can. In many cases you can’t find good data for the best proxy variable. But in each and every case, what data there is appears to suggest that the vaccines are worthless.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        If doctors are biased against diagnosing measles and it is much harder to diagnose measles today (because we require lab confirmation – at least for sporadic cases) how can anybody be sure that the vaccine has worked at all?

        It isn’t true that lab confirmation is required for a measles diagnosis today, but even assuming that premise were true, your conclusion that the vaccine doesn’t work to prevent measles doesn’t logically follow. Do you have another explanation for why measles is no longer the common childhood illness it once was? Or are you suggesting that measles is still just as common as it was during the pre-vaccine era, but nobody recognizes it?

        There is no question that the vaccine does stimulate a protective level of antibodies in most people, i.e., that it “works” to prevent measles infection, which explains why the observed decline in measles incidence after the start of mass vaccination.

        But it is worth noting that so-called complications of measles, mumps and rubella (total rates of encephalitis, deafness, sterility and congenital defects) do not appear to have fallen since we vaccinated against them.

        You are claiming that measles encephalitis is just as common today as it was in the 1950s? That also is not true. The rate of it during the pre-vaccine era was something like 1 in 10,000, with 4 million cases of measles annually, so around 400 cases of measles encephalitis per year. Today, there typically aren’t even that many cases of measles each year, much less measles encephalitis.

        Of course, the vaccine can also cause encephalitis, and we don’t really have any idea what the true rate of this is because no well designed studies have been done to determine it, but that’s a separate point.

      • Rtp

        According to the CDC in order to get a confirmed case of measles you need to have a lab test or a clear link to another case.

        https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/surv-manual/chpt07-measles.html#case

        This is what I said – that you need lab confirmation for sporadic cases.

        You might also want to note the following quote from the same page:

        “To minimize the problem of false positive laboratory results, it is important to restrict case investigation and laboratory tests to patients most likely to have measles (i.e., those who meet the clinical case definition, especially if they have risk factors for measles, such as being unvaccinated”

        The CDC is explicitly encouraging doctors to ignore the possibility of measles if the patient is vaccinated. Not that doctors need any encouraging of course.

        “Or are you suggesting that measles is still just as common as it was during the pre-vaccine era, but nobody recognizes it?”

        They recognize it and they call it something else – particularly roseola, fifth disease, hand foot and mouth. For chickenpox we might call it things like impetigo. But both chickenpox and measles (as in blistering and non-blistering) rashes are also interchangeable as well (eg imagine if a child has 10 rashes and 3 blister and 7 do not).

        Roseola was not even coined until the 20th century and it would not have been until the mid to late 20th century (ie when the measles vaccine became commonplace) that the average doctor would have known much about it.

        For hand foot and mouth the fraud is even more stark. It was not coined until 1957 (measles vaccine came out shortly afterwards). How many cases of rashes that had always been previously diagnosed as measles would have actually been dxed as hand foot and mouth if the term had been around before the vaccine? I am guessing an awful lot. But I want to make it clear that it is just a guess.

        We simply have no data because neither roseola nor hand foot and mouth are notifiable! Convenient eh?

        But you can look up “differential diagnosis” and “measles” and see these diseases and then if you want you can ask a bunch of mothers about roseola and hand foot and mouth. You will see that they are very common – almost universal in fact.

        Exactly the way measles was thought to be.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        <

        blockquote>According to the CDC in order to get a confirmed case of measles you need to have a lab test …

        <

        blockquote>

        Irrelevant. You said that in order to get a diagnosis of measles, you need to have a lab test, which as I said is false.

      • Rtp

        “There is no question that the vaccine does stimulate a protective level of antibodies in most people, i.e., that it “works” to prevent measles infection.”

        The latter does not logically flow from the former. I would argue that the physiological response is nothing more than the body’s response to being poisoned and has nothing to do with protection from future infection. And my explanation makes an awful lot of sense because people are exposed to literally trillions of viruses and bacteria all the time (presumably) without such antibody responses.

        “You are claiming that measles encephalitis is just as common today as it was in the 1950s?”

        No. Obviously encephalitis blamed on measles has fallen – in line with the fact that doctors are largely refusing to diagnose measles (especially in the vaccinated) and even the doctors that are willing to diagnose it face increased hurdles (eg the requirement for lab confirmation).

        Note that the same happens with other so-called vaccine preventable diseases. Very very few doctors would want to diagnose smallpox anyway of course (as they believe it has been eradicated) but even if some did, they simply would not be allowed to – even if they somehow got their hands on a positive lab result. Same for polio. Only bureaucrats are allowed to make a diagnosis of polio regardless of symptoms or lab results.

        If measles was a significant cause of encephalitis then the alleged complete collapse of measles cases would obviously lead to a massive fall in total rates of encephalitis. But total rates of encephalitis have not fallen. So the only possibilities are that a) measles was never a significant cause of encephalitis in the first place; and/or b) the vaccine is worthless and doctors are merely blaming other causes for encephalitis (be they environment or other viruses or whatever).

        This issue is even more stark with rubella. That is because the only supposed complication of rubella that we were supposed to concern ourselves with was congenital defects. But total congenital defect rates have not fallen (they have increased slightly). Of course, just as for measles encephalitis, doctors are no longer blaming the rubella virus (CRS) when a child with defects is born but that doesn’t alter the reality – that a) rubella was never a significant cause of defects; and/or b) that the vaccine is completely worthless.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        The latter does not logically flow from the former.

        Yes, it does.

      • Rtp

        “which explains why the observed decline in measles incidence after the start of mass vaccination”

        Statistics are based on the accumulation and manipulation of lots of observations – no one person can independently observe a fall in measles we just rely on the validity of the total data. However, that data is hopelessly biased because of the doctor diagnosis problem.

        This is why I only ever use statistics to counter other statistics as opposed to using them to form a coherent theory in itself. In medicine (and economics too), statistics are always hopelessly compromised by a self-fulfilling prophecy (albeit slightly different ones). That is why in both cases, you need to start with a logical basis first and then use statistics to broadly illustrate your case rather than collect data first and try and come up with increasingly nonsensical explanations to make the square peg fit the round hole.

        The Austrian school did this with economics (as you know) and Ryke Hamer has done this with medicine. The Austrian school starts with one very simple premise – purposeful human action – and goes from there. Hamer started with one (slightly more controversial but still reasonable) premise – that diseases are no more a mistake of nature/evolution/God/intelligent designer than the rest of our physiological characteristics are – and goes from there.

      • Rtp

        “Irrelevant. You said that in order to get a diagnosis of measles, you need to have a lab test, which as I said is false.”

        ???

        A confirmed case of measles is a diagnosis of measles (as opposed to simply a suspicion of measles). And the CDC requires lab tests for sporadic cases to make such confirmed cases (aka diagnoses).

        This is exactly what I said initially.

        Here is what I said: “it is much harder to diagnose measles today (because we require lab confirmation – at least for sporadic cases)”.

        “Yes, it does”

        I’m convinced.

        I don’t get what you are playing at. We are on the same side. Is it really that painful to realize that vaccines are even worse than you imagined?

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        A confirmed case of measles is a diagnosis of measles…

        Yes, but not every diagnosis of measles is a confirmed case.

        You really need to study logic.

      • Rtp

        I think you’re getting confused between diagnosis and notifications. A suspected case is still notifiable so it still gets recorded but an actual diagnosis won’t come until confirmation.

        Now, prima facie, that would imply the notification data (the data people use (wrongly) to reflect incidence data) is not affected by making it harder to diagnose (although it’s still greatly affected by doctor biases against suspecting measles in vaccinated patients). So it would seem that despite your confusion your point remains.

        However, lab confirmations and notifications are a largely uncompensated burden on doctors plus a significant expense for the patients. As notifying measles today (as opposed to before the vaccine) typically requires the added burden of lab testing this added hurdle would indeed affect notification rates. Doctors just couldn’t be bothered – especially considering in their and the CDC’s minds only the unvaxed have a significant chance of being infected anyway.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        I think you’re getting confused…

        No. It’s you who is confused. To see how so, see my previous comments.

        A suspected case is still notifiable so it still gets recorded but an actual diagnosis won’t come until confirmation.

        Incorrect. Diagnoses are made all the time without lab confirmation.

      • Rtp

        “Diagnoses are made all the time without lab confirmation”.

        No. If the case is sporadic (ie not epidemiologically linked to another case) then there has to be lab confirmation. I already showed that.

        I mean, I suppose that the doctor could say “this is my diagnosis” before the lab test is done – for what that’s worth, but if the lab test came back negative then that diagnosis would obviously change wouldn’t it?

        I just don’t get why you’re so keen to argue this. Like I already pointed out, in the case of measles, the data we use is for notifications (suspicions) not diagnoses (confirmed or otherwise) anyway. In the case of polio (which requires lab confirmation (plus other hurdles) for every case, we use confirmed diagnoses as opposed to notifications for our data.

        So the effect that this added hurdle(s) has on measles data is indirect (but no doubt still significant) whereas the effect it has on polio data is enormous (and direct).

        However, as I already said, the main point is that doctors typically don’t want to suspect/notify/diagnose/confirm the condition in the first place if the patient is vaccinated so there is absolutely no valid evidence that any vaccine in history has ever worked. The only way to provide such valid evidence is to look at proxy data (eg total rates of paralysis since the polio vaccine or total rates of encephalitis since the measles vaccine or total rates of congenital defects since the rubella vacccine etc or total rates of invasive diseases since the various meningitis vaccines). In each case, it would appear as though all vaccines are worthless.

        Why don’t you address this? You are convinced that total measles has actually fallen which means that you are sure that the fall in measles notifications hasn’t seen a concomitant rise in conditions that could easily be confused with measles. Hand foot and mouth – one of the differential diagnoses of measles – was first diagnosed in 1957. Given that its case rate was literally zero just before the measles vaccine, clearly there has been a massive rise in diagnoses/suspicions of this disease since the measles vaccine. Do you really believe that the massive rise in HFM alongside the massive fall in measles is just an astonishing coincidence?

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        Lab confirmation is not required for a diagnosis to be made. The diagnosis comes first. Hence testing to confirm the diagnosis in some cases.

        As an example, most diagnoses of influenza are not lab confirmed cases.

        However, as I already said, the main point is that doctors typically don’t want to suspect/notify/diagnose/confirm the condition in the first place if the patient is vaccinated…

        Correct.

        …so there is absolutely no valid evidence that any vaccine in history has ever worked.

        This does not logically follow.

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