- CDC: "Vaccination provided no measurable protection against mild illness"
- CDC still recommends flu vaccination
A newly-released evaluation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) concludes that if you got the flu shot this year, it probably didn't do you much good.
According to CDC, preliminary effectiveness estimates "suggest flu vaccination did not reduce the risk of mild or moderate influenza caused by... the most common strain this season."
Preliminary flu vaccine effectiveness estimates for the 2021-2022 flu season suggest flu vaccination did not reduce the risk of mild or moderate influenza caused by the H3N2 flu virus, which has been the most common strain this season."CDC
CDC is holding out hope that even though flu shots didn't prevent mild or moderate illness, they helped "prevent serious outcomes even when it does not prevent infection."
When flu shots have no meaningful benefit, experts say it means patients were subjected to a lopsided risk-benefit ratio that exposed them to risk without benefit.
Vaccination safety and the CDC is a controversial topic, in part, because CDC is the agency charged with protecting public health, but is also the chief promoter for the vaccine industry and its products. Watchdogs have long said this is an untenable conflict of interest that leads CDC to be less vigilant than it should be about vaccine safety issues. Congress has discussed, but never implemented, recommendations from outside advisers to separate the role of vaccine promotion from the role of monitoring vaccine safety and effectiveness.
Flu shots in elderly
Previously, a definitive government study confirmed what other studies had concluded: flu shots are not effective in the elderly, after all, and do not prevent deaths in that population. After those findings, CDC decided to continue recommending flu shots for the elderly, anyway, but decided to add flu shots to the recommended childhood and infant schedule.
Even though CDC says babies and children are at near zero risk of serious illness from flu, a CDC official said that -- with the flu vaccine's failure to protect older people -- convincing parents to vaccinate their children for flu would be necessary to help keep the little ones from transmitting flu to older people. The recommendation is controversial because flu shots carry some risk of serious injury, such as Guillain Barre syndrome paralysis. Some experts have said it is unethical for CDC to recommend a medicine to children when it's not for their benefit, and it carries risk.
Public health officials have since built a narrative that the flu vaccine is for the benefit of children.
Flu shots in children
According to CDC, "There is a growing body of evidence, particularly among young children who are at increased risk for severe complications, suggesting that influenza vaccination can reduce the severity of illness, even among people who get vaccinated and still get sick with flu."
The CDC quote may seem to imply young children are at increased risk for severe complications from flu. In fact, CDC acknowledges that young children in general are at very little risk of severe illness from flu. Instead, the CDC quote actually says that among the small subset of young children who are at increased risk of severe complications-- such as those who are immune-compromised-- there is a suggestion that flu shots could reduce severity of illness.
There is a growing body of evidence, particularly among young children who are at increased risk for severe complications, suggesting that influenza vaccination can reduce the severity of illness, even among people who get vaccinated and still get sick with flu.CDC
Flu shots, particularly in pregnant women and children, have come under fire because they contain a controversial and possibly harmful mercury preservative called thimerosal.
Amid much controversy, and a possible link between vaccines and autism, thimerosal has largely been removed from most vaccines, with the exception of flu shots. However, CDC and the vaccine industry say the thimerosal mercury is perfectly safe to inject in babies and children, as well as pregnant women and adults.
Mercury-free or thimerosal-free vaccines may be available at physician's offices, upon request.
Read more on vaccine safety issues here.
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