HOW EFFECTIVE ARE FLU SHOTS AT
HALTING FLU IN THE MEDICAL SETTING?
(HINT: NOT SO MUCH)
"The statistics are alarming. At least one earlier study has shown that patients who are exposed to a healthcare worker who is sick are five times more likely to get a healthcare-associated infection." Lead author, Dr. Sophia Chiu of the CDC
"In homage to Typhoid Mary, medical personnel are coming to work with the flu in droves --- for an average of three days." Me from today's post
On top of that, the medical community is touting flu vaccine statistics using Relative Risk as opposed to the more accurate Absolute Risk. Not only is this a common ploy with virtually all drugs, it verifies Mark Twain's brilliant observation, "Figures never lie, but liars figure." For a ten second example of this phenomenon as it pertains to flu vaccinations, READ THE RED HIGHLIGHTED PORTION of this short post to see why this past year over 200 people had to be vaccinated to prevent a single case of flu.
Although there are any number of other reasons flu vaccinations are misguided (my favorite being the fact that if you had a flu shot last year, this year's shot has an even lower efficacy than the terrible efficacy it otherwise would --- HERE), a study from last November's American Journal of Infection Control (Working with Influenza-Like Ilness: Presenteeism Among US Health Care Personnel During the 2014-2015 Influenza Season) shows why none of these facts matter anyway. In homage to Typhoid Mary, medical personnel are coming to work with the flu in droves --- for an average of three days. Here are some fun facts from today's study.
- Over 40% of surveyed US health care personnel worked with self-reported ILI.
- By occupation, pharmacists (67.2%) and physicians (63.2%) were most likely to work with ILI.
- By work setting, hospital-based personnel were the most likely to work with ILI (49.3%).
I would contend that the bigger part of what this study said is what it didn't say. These researchers surveyed just under 2,000 people. If such a huge percentage of health care workers --- a group of people with mandatory flu vax rules --- are getting sick at all, let alone working while sick, does this not say something of the crappy efficacy of the flu shot? Out of 1,914 healthcare personnel surveyed, 414 reported getting sick with something that resembled the flu (22%), significantly higher than the 4% chance of the average person coming down with flu in the average year as touted by the government and medical community (HERE).
The PRESS RELEASE for this study (Survey Findings: 4 in 10 Healthcare Professionals Work While Sick) stated "Flu-related deaths predominantly impact individuals 65 years and older. Influenza may be transmissible from one day before, and up to seven days after, symptoms onset." Two things here. The hard reality of flu shots for the elderly is that even though they are arguably the number one target group, the vaccine does not work for them --- period (HERE and HERE). If you find a doctor that wants to argue that point, they have deluded themselves. Secondly, with these sorts of illnesses (flu or flu-like) causing symptoms for a week; when you couple this with over 1/5 of a hospital's workforce missing a week of work for flu it's a rather unsustainable model, even though "Patients’ health and wellbeing are at stake when contagious HCPs opt not to stay home."
If you are interested in seeing my dozens of posts on the flu and flu vaccination program, be sure and CLICK THIS. If you are chronically ill and looking to create a PERSONALIZED EXIT STRATEGY to get you off the medical merry-go-round, HERE is the place to start studying. And if you appreciate this sort of information, be sure it makes the rounds on FACEBOOK by liking, sharing, or following. It's the easiest way to reach those you love and care about most.