MY BROTHER --- DR. KEVIN SCHIERLING --- REVEALS THE STARTLING TRUTH ABOUT THE ANNUAL FLU SHOT
One of the many governmental mandates that BIG PHARMA has managed to push through is that all healthcare workers are required to be vaccinated against the flu. When I say all, I mean everyone from the surgeons, to the nurses, to the office managers, to the security guards, to the custodians. Period. End of story. You don't want vaccinated? Tough. You can either quit or BE FIRED. Why? One reason and one reason only. Because the rate of employee vaccination against flu is one of the increasing number of criteria being tied to the amount of federal tax dollars hospitals and clinics receive.
The dirty little secret, however, is that flu shots don't work. They never have. This is not my opinion, it's what the peer-reviewed scientific literature has shown repeatedly (HERE). Enter Dr. Dan Runde. A couple months ago, writing for Emergency Medicine News, Runde's short article on a slightly different topic, TAMIFLU (Myths in Emergency Medicine: Still Prescribing Oseltamivir? --- HERE) struck a chord with my brother Kevin, himself an ER doc.
Among the things learned from Runde's article were that 60% of the studies on Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) had never been published --- a phenomenon so common in the biomedical research community it's got it's own name, INVISIBLE & ABANDONED. It allows researchers to hide how pathetically many of their drugs perform simply by not publishing (or never finishing) studies that don't fit the cash-flow requirements of their corporate business model. It's also how I became the world record holder for consecutively made free throws (HERE --- 43,548 in a row). Oh; and as for the efficacy of Tamiflu, even though it brings a proverbial boatload of potential (and rather common) SIDE EFFECTS to the table, it's been shown to shorten the course of the flu by a whopping 9% (about half a day).
Using the same logic, Dr. Kevin decided to respond with a letter to the editor concerning the flu vaccine, considering most of the same criticisms Runde leveled against Tamiflu were valid for flu shots as well. Using a number of studies published by the COCHRANE REVIEW --- the gold standard for crunching huge amounts of medical data, analyzing it, and making sense of it --- he sent in his letter, which was published in this month's issue of the same journal, Emergency Medicine News.
Letter to the Editor: Flu Shot's Abysmal Track Record Akin to Tamiflu's
I applaud Dan Runde, MD, for his article, “Still Prescribing Oseltamivir?” I would thoroughly enjoy a follow-up article possibly entitled, “Still Getting Your Mandatory Flu Shot?” It would cite Cochrane Reviews over the past 10-15 years that have repeatedly shown an abysmal track record for influenza vaccination. The Cochrane data show that flu vaccination for prevention has about the same efficacy as Tamiflu for treatment.
Mandatory flu vaccination has become the standard for health care providers nationwide based mainly on two premises: vaccination of providers protects patients from influenza-infected providers (see Typhoid Mary), and flu vaccination decreases days lost from work. Neither of these statements are supported by any reliable evidence. Cochrane cannot even address the questions surrounding provider vaccination because the only study (yes, singular) is in the nursing home setting.
The most disturbing result of the Cochrane Reviews, however, is how poorly the flu vaccine works for all populations that their reviews have covered over the past 15 years, including healthy adults, the elderly, children, asthmatics, and pregnant patients (I'm sure I left somebody out). We, as physicians, have once again been convinced that “doing something” is better than doing nothing. I'm embarrassed to say that, just as in the case of Tamiflu, big pharma wins again.
Kevin Schierling, MD
Great letter, but my biggest criticism would be that his statement, "flu vaccination for prevention has about the same efficacy as Tamiflu for treatment" is not as accurate as it could be. Why would I say such a thing? Let me spell it out for you. Less than a year ago we learned that the reason FLU MIST nasal vaccine was pulled off the market was because it was less than 3% effective for three years running (even though prestigious journals were still touting 83%). The harsh reality is, most of the studies mentioned in Kevin's letter show an efficacy approaching 0% (HERE and HERE are examples). If you think this is an exaggeration, look at the links.
For more information about Flu Vaccinations, including short articles on all of the groups Dr. Kevin mentioned (as well as a few others, including A BRAND NEW ONE from last week), make sure to at least THUMB THE TITLES of my posts on the subject. And for those who believe that none of this matters --- you know; just shut up and get your flu shot like a good little soldier --- you should probably know who DR. HUGH FUDENBERG was and why his research is just as valid today as it was forty years ago.
While this is a controversial topic, it needs to make the rounds on FACEBOOK. Until people start complaining to their legislators, nothing is going to happen and big pharma will continue to win --- at your expense. If you agree, just share it and ask others to share it as well.
Sincerely, Dr. Russell Schierling