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« Choosing a How-to-Paint Book | Main | Living Through Gustav »

September 13, 2008

Is The Flu Vaccination Really Helpful?

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Does the flu vaccine really prevent deaths? The stats would seem to indicate such a conclusion. After all, a geezer who has had a flu shot is less likely to die during flu season than a geezer who hasn't had a flu shot.

But a new study suggests that what we might really be witnessing is nothing but the consequence of the fact that the already-more-healthy are more likely to get a flu shot than the already-less-healthy. The geezer who gets a flu shot is already a more robust geezer than the geezer who fails to get a flu shot.

FWIW: In my own case, I have had better luck, flu-wise, during years when I haven't submitted to a flu shot.

Bonus point: What's in a flu shot. Yummy!



posted by Michael at September 13, 2008


I've said it before: You do not get a flu shot so you won't get the flu. You get one so you cut down your chances of passing your flu on to others, such as the immune-impaired for whom the flu is a deadly disease. And no one gets the flu from a flu shot. Just does not happen. Flu-shot season coincides with the onset of common-cold season, which is why I suspect people are always saying the flu shot gave them the flu (many people haven't the slightest idea of the difference between cold and flu). Anyway, not to get a flu shot is a sign of disdain for others.

Posted by: Francis Morrone on September 13, 2008 12:22 PM

Francis -- Hey, good to see you. I know you're a big proponent of flu shots for the sake of the public good. But what if the whole annual flu shot ritual doesn't in fact reduce overall mortality? That's what the study I linked to suggests may be the case.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 13, 2008 12:43 PM

FWIW: In my own case, I have had better luck, flu-wise, ever since I started getting an annual flu shot. I've had colds, but never (as far as I can tell) the flu.

Posted by: dearieme on September 13, 2008 2:45 PM

Of course the mortality rate does not change; what changes is the infection rate.

Posted by: TW on September 14, 2008 1:06 AM

Flu is quite easy to recognise - really high fever (over 102F), the violent shivering that goes with high fevers, and an aching body. Haven't had it for over 20 years myself, and that's without flu shots. It's rarer than people think.


Posted by: alias clio on September 15, 2008 11:06 AM

I am suspicious of shots. But what I want to know is, how many blogs do you follow Michael? I hesitate to guess the number, but whatever it is - I am glad I have someone to do my surfing for me.

Posted by: Franco Bertucci on September 16, 2008 8:18 PM

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