The flu shot is largely worthless and possibly dangerous

Every year, the "gubment" cajoles us to get our flu shots.  It's our civic duty!

The only problem is that studies have shown that the flu shot is either worthless or almost worthless.

On average, past flu vaccines have been about 42 percent effective, though that number can range anywhere from 10 to 60 percent in a given year[.] ... [T]his year's flu shot may not be up to the task.  It is the same formulation that was used during Australia's most recent flu season – which typically sets a pattern for what the U.S. will face – and it was only 10 percent effective there.

Ten percent!

Dr. Pardis Sabeti, a Harvard professor and infectious disease expert[, says,] "Even 10 percent effective is better than nothing."

Wow, a Harvard professor says even ten percent is better than nothing!  Far be it from me to challenge a Harvard professor (something I used to do quite frequently), but where does this ten percent figure come from?

Take a study that claimed 67% effectiveness for the flu shot.  One group of 5,103 people got the flu shot, and 49 of those caught the flu (almost 1%).  A control group of 2,549 people took a placebo, and 74 people got the flu (3%).

Based on a statistical analysis of the 1% who caught the flu who were vaccinated and the 3% who caught it when unvaccinated, statisticians concluded by analysis (you can read it here) that the flu shot has "effectiveness" of 67%.

However, most laymen would conclude that most people, whether vaccinated or not, did not catch the flu and that the difference between those vaccinated and those unvaccinated was only 2%.  In fact, due to standard deviations, it is possible that the gap between the vaccinated and unvaccinated is even smaller.

The bottom line is that even if the flu vaccine is effective, it helps a very small number of people.  That still might make it worthwhile to inoculate people if it were 100% safe.  Unfortunately, that's not entirely clear, according to a scientist at Johns Hopkins:

Although the CDC  implies that flu vaccines are safe ... an Australian study ... found [that] one in every 110 children under the age of five had convulsions following vaccinations in 2009 for H1N1 influenza.  Additional investigations found that the H1N1 vaccine was also associated with a spike in cases of narcolepsy among adolescents.

Another doctor points out:

The mercury contained in vaccines is such a strong immune depressant that a flu shot suppresses immunity for several weeks.  "This makes people highly susceptible to catching the flu," he says.  "They may even think the vaccine gave them the flu, but that's not true – it depressed their immune system and then they caught the flu."

 Mercury overstimulates the brain for several years, says Dr. Blaylock, and that activation is the cause of Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases.  One study found that those who get the flu vaccine for three to five years increase their risk of Alzheimer's disease 10-fold.

Those who defend the flu shot point out that when the flu vaccine is made, it's based on a variation of last year's flu and that the flu virus mutates, so they will never get a 100% match for next year's flu.  But from the looks of these statistics, they aren't coming anywhere close to 100%.  They also claim that even if you do catch the flu, you will catch a less severe version of it if you have a flu shot.  To that I offer a pill that, if taken, will cure most common colds within 1-2 weeks.

Most people get the flu shot and don't get the flu and then falsely conflate correlation with causation, and then they keep getting the flu shot without questioning the efficacy of it.  Given the marginal, at best, benefit of the flu shot and the possible risk, an inoculation program aimed at everyone, without regard to risk versus benefit, makes no sense.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at

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