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Flu Vaccine for Elderly

by Randall Neustaedter OMD

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Flu Shots Do Not Save Lives

It will come as no surprise to vaccine critics that flu vaccination does not result in a decreased incidence of deaths in the elderly. In my book The Vaccine Guide (North Atlantic Books, 2002) I stated that, “The primary targeted population for flu vaccine is the elderly, yet the vaccine is notoriously ineffective in preventing disease in that population.” Now a report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that the flu vaccine has no ability to prevent deaths in people over 65.

The authors of that study examined vaccination rates and death rates that could be attributed to the flu between the years 1968 and 2001. The campaign for flu vaccination in the elderly resulted in a significant increase in people vaccinated. Flu vaccine coverage among people 65 or older increased from between 15% and 20% before 1980 to 65% in 2001. Despite the increased number of vaccinated people in this age group the mortality rates in flu seasons remained the same during these two decades. The authors conclude, “We could not correlate increasing vaccination coverage after 1980 with declining mortality rates in any age group.” These findings contradicted all assumptions and predictions about the protective effect of flu vaccines. Estimates from clinical trials suggest that increased flu vaccine coverage should substantially reduce deaths from the flu.

“If vaccination reduces influenza-related mortality by 70% to 80%, then the 50-percentage-point increase in vaccination coverage among the elderly after 1980 should have reduced… mortality by about 35% to 40%. We found no evidence to indicate that such a reduction had occurred… in any elderly age group.”

These findings should result in a change in the prevention strategies we adopt for the flu season. Strengthening the immune system and maintaining a high level of health through the use of natural forms of treatment that stimulate healing should have a much greater impact on flu related deaths than vaccination campaigns.

For suggestions about better ways to prevent and treat the flu see my book FLU: Alternative Treatments and Prevention (North Atlantic Books, 2005).

Simonsen L, et al. Impact of influenza vaccination on seasonal mortality in the US elderly population. Archives of Internal Medicine 2005; 165:265-272.

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