Flu shot administration, flu shot protect you

Have you been vaccinated against the flu this year? Will the flu shot protect you from getting influenza? We won’t be able to answer that question for several months. That’s because it takes the CDC a long time to collect the data on vaccine effectiveness.

Even when there is a good match between the shot and the circulating strains of influenza, the vaccine is only about 40 percent effective on average. This year, though, it may not be even that good.

Will Doctors Be Disappointed in This Year’s Flu Shot?

A perspective published in The New England Journal of Medicine reports that the past flu season in Australia resulted in more hospitalizations and deaths than normal (Paules et al, NEJM, Nov. 29, 2017). The Southern Hemisphere is usually six months ahead in their flu season, so Australia has just finished its season of influenza infections. A preliminary analysis of vaccine effectiveness using Australian data estimates it at about 10% against H3N2. That is the predominant strain of type A flu this year. The authors note that our vaccine for the coming flu season is the same as the one that was used in Australia.

Should There Be a Universal Flu Vaccine?

According to The New England Journal of Medicine Perspective, vaccine makers have trouble matching the flu shot to the ever-changing influenza strains each year. The authors call for the development of a universal flu vaccine that would transform protection against influenza. We are still a long way from that, unfortunately.

In the meantime, the Perspective maintains, “However imperfect, though, current influenza vaccines remain a valuable public health tool, and it is always better to get vaccinated than not to get vaccinated.” This year, it seems reasonable to ask, will the flu shot protect you from catching influenza?

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  1. Diane

    I can’t imagine that, with Australia finding their flu vaccine 10% effective, and ours being the same formulation, we will come in any higher than 10% effective. And for my money, that is NOT even close to encouraging me to put all those chemicals into my body.

  2. Gail
    Houston, Tx

    We have not taken the flu shot in years. Instead we use influzinum a homeopathic remedy. We have not caught the flu. If we are exposed to someone who is ill we take Oscillo Coccinum doses and we don’t get sick. We also ask people who are ill not to come visit us.

  3. Lee
    North Carolina

    I never take the Flu shot now as I got very sick 25 years ago from the vaccine. So for 25 years I went through each season without getting the flu til this year. My Dr said this year was going to be very bad, and I could die now at my age if I got this so I was convinced to take the vaccine! Exactly 72 hours after getting the shot I came down with the “FLU” and was sick for a month. All the medical professionals I consulted deny that it was related BUT just Google ” I got the flu shot and became ill.” Yeah, about 6 million cases of unrelated illness to read about!

  4. Karla

    I avoid the flu vaccine as much as possible. The only exceptions in recent years is when a friend or family member is undergoing an aggressive treatment, such as chemo, and I know I’ll be around them, even though – as folks note – the vaccine’s effectiveness varies by year. I would say I’ve been vaccinated twice in the last 15 years. I am allergic to thimerosal (mercury), so when I do get vaccinated, it’s with a version without that cr*p in it. I prefer to treat with black seed oil, vitamins and supplements, and by drinking lots of water. Usually works for me, with occasional fails – but at least I know what’s in my supplements!

  5. Jo

    I have been taking D3 for 6 years, with not one cold or flu problem. If you take D I would suggest having your doctor order a test to see your level of D3. I started taking D3 after hearing a doctor say he keeps his level at 50 for therapeutic benefit. Always check with your health care provider.

  6. David McElvogue

    I’m 66 years old and never had a flu shot in my entire life and never had any problems. I personally know two women who received a flu shot and each spent a week in the hospital from it and are still having problems!

  7. Larry M
    Raleigh, NC

    You asked “Will the Flu Shot Protect You from Influenza This Year?” Before I read the article, I estimated 35-40% likelihood. After I read the article, my estimate was unchanged.

    But you failed to answer the real question: Is 40% effectiveness enough to confer herd immunity on the US population? If it is, your articles should be more positive, to encourage a social good deed on your readers’ part. If it’s not, no need to encourage it.

    Looking forward to reading your response about herd immunity.

  8. Jonathan

    I’m just now recovering from a miserable six days of the flu, for the first time in at least ten years, and I did have a flu shot in early fall. It really took me by surprise!

  9. JUNEBUG14
    Houston, TX

    We got the “Flu” shot in early October and contracted INFLUENZA A in November!!! It took an EPIDEMIC in Australia to make the U.S. AMA admit that they left OUT that strain! Our “Flu” shot this year in America was only 10% effective!!! My sister-in-law is an ER NURSE and they had her take the shot and she is as sick as I am right now just trying to recover WITH antibiotics! Would we have survived without them? I doubt it!

    • Mimi

      Antibiotics are for bacterial infections, not viral infections. The flu is a virus. Also the flu shot may not protect you from the flu virus but people that have received a flu shot should not get as bad a case of the flu if they contract it.

  10. Malcolm

    Vitamin D3 supplements protects me from influenza and colds far more reliably than any flu shot. I take 10000 units a day and have for 14 years. I used to get flu/colds two-three times a season. I have not had any in those 14 years, nor have my wife and four children. Others that I stay in touch with have had like results since beginning to take D3 or, in the summer, getting lots of sunshine each day.

  11. Cathy

    In addition to the low level of effectiveness, what was the rate of side effects to the vaccine? Did you look at the toxic chemicals in the current vaccines? How much mercury? How much aluminum? (both neuro toxins) How much formaldehyde, a carcinogen? How much foreign animal tissue, which cause immune problems? How much antibiotics and polysorbates? I think I’ll take a pass on this one, thank you. C. Hood, RN, MS

  12. Laura E

    you really didn’t answer the question.

    • Laura E

      I mean, should I bother to get it?

      • Marilyn

        A resounding “NO!!”

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