Are flu shots effective?

In the winter of ‘03/’04 , the CDC (Center for Disease Control) knew
that the A/Fujian strain would probably hit North America, but they
did not have enough time to mass produce a flu vaccine with it – yet
they promoted the ineffective version anyways. Last year’s flu shot
was between 0 and 14% effective. Does this year’s shot contain the
correct strain? Is it worth the gamble?

The majority (85 – 90%) of flu-like illnesses every Fall and Winter
are not caused by the influenza virus. The flu shot does not prevent:

  • ‘Stomach flu’
  • The common cold
  • Other flu-like viruses (RSV, adenovirus, parainfluenza)
  • SARS

Amongst healthy adults tested, the flu shot, if it contains the correct
strain, has proven to be effective less than 25% of the time.

The flu shot is recommended for “high risk groups”, such as the
elderly, however there is no convincing scientific evidence that they
are effective at reducing flu-complications, such as pneumonia, in the

Babies and children are the new target market group for the flu shot,
despite the fact that studies have shown infants to have a poor
immune response to the vaccine – in fact, studies have shown that
children who have never been exposed to influenza, are at high risk of
contracting the flu from the shot

A number of other studies indicate that a great number of flues are
caused every year by the vaccine