Most years I don't get a flu shot, and most years I don't get the flu even when multiple folks around me do get it. Like a few years ago when we had 2 contractors working in our house redoing our kitchen. Both had their flu shots, both came down with the flu. I didn't even though I was around them as they were getting sick, and I also had to drive our son to the clinic when he got it, and yes he had the shot. Now, I realize maybe I just somehow got lucky, and I am NOT advising anyone to ignore their docs advice about
this. But last time I had the actual flu was probably 15 years ago when I took those shots religiously, they would hand them out free to every one(like me) that was working in the hospital.
So anyway, we were watching something about
flu season and shots on the news. They are talking about
how convenient it is to get the shots, even free sometimes or covered by insurance, and my wife- who always takes the shots- says sarcastically "and some people don't even get the shots". Meaning stupid me. But wouldn't you know it, the words had no sooner left her mouth when the TV doc advocating the shots says- in answer to a question about
tri-valent vs quad-valent(sp?) "Yes, some might want to get the quad, because that gives you a better chance of falling into the 10% effective group". Then I hear the same thing repeated on a separate news program.
10% effective? The usual claim is between 20 and 60% most years. But 10%, are you kidding me? (of course, they also claim you get a milder case of it if you have had the shot. But leaving out the debates about
possible SEs, is it worth even a possibility of serious SEs for just 10% effectiveness, what ever exactly that means? fox8.com/2017/12/04/health-experts-this-years-flu-vaccine-only-10-effective/
Their findings are based on what made people sick in the southern hemisphere’s most recent flu season. This approach usually provides effective coverage — 40% to 60% — from the flu.
This year, however, the virus appears to have mutated rendering the vaccine only about 10% effective.
But when I heard this 10% figure handed out by people who were strongly advocating for the flu shots, I could not help but be reminded of a recent thread I started asking if studies were sometimes designed to fail. It had to do with what seemed to me to be a very flawed study of vitamin D used to hopefully prevent common colds in young school children. But there was no placebo, the only thing compared was what would be a high dose of vitamin D(for children anyway) vs what I would call very high dose. So since high dose could well be all that was needed to lower incidence of colds(who will ever know since they had NO placebo! ), it is not all that surprising that even higher doses did not show a significant difference in colds./www.medscape.org/viewarticle/884182?nlid=117430_2713&src=wnl_cmemp_170911_mscpedu_nurs&uac=158102PN&impid=1430844&faf=1
But that (the claim that high dose does not decrease colds with no placebo for comparison, only in comparison to already fairly high levels) is not what made me think of this study when I saw the news on TV- from flu shot advocates- that effectiveness this year was only 10% . It was what was not trumpeted, what was not put in the headline or as the take away, which was this:
At the end of the study period, serum vitamin D levels were 48.7 ng/mL (95% CI, 46.9-50.5 ng/mL) in the high-dose group and 36.8 ng/mL (95% CI, 35.4-38.2 ng/mL) in the standard-dose group.
Incidence of influenza was 50% lower in the high-dose group (IRR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.28-0.89), but only 16 cases (4.4% of all infections) occurred in that group, and only 31 (8.5% of all infections) occurred in the standard-dose group. The groups did not differ for other types of viral infection.
The investigators conclude that high doses of vitamin D do not reduce the number of wintertime viral URTIs among healthy children aged 1 to 5 years and that supplementation is not indicated to prevent such infections.
( and BTW, this was a randomized clinical trial, though I don't know if it was blinded, and obviously there was no placebo, that is the biggy)
So, even though the comparison group already had a solid 36.8 ng/ml level after supplementation, the even higher dose group(48.7 ng/ml) had their flu results lowered a whopping 50 additional %. I don't know about
others, but personally I would just love to see that same comparison against folks with no supplementation, and very common levels of < 20 ng/ml.
My point? All of the medical authorities are begging me to get a flu shot once again(which I might cave and do so, I did year before last- or was it 3 years ago?), no one in any traditional medicine is saying otherwise, and enormous $ are spent on a national TV campaign to get me to do so. They really want me to get this 10% effective solution. (and if indeed there are no significant downsides, maybe even 10% is better than nothing)
But where is there a single national medical authority to tout this randomized study from Canada which showed that increasing blood levels of vitamin D from the already higher than average level of 37 to 49 dropped flu incidence a solid 50%, from and in addition to whatever the lower dose did- or didn't, do. Who knows, no placebo? I have not heard this touted anywhere, and even if you know about
the article, you have to read the entire thing because the headline is "Daily high-dose vitamin D during the winter months did not reduce the incidence of viral URTIs among children aged 1 to 5 years, according to results of a study published in the July 18 issue of JAMA. ". (since I am retired anesthesia, I still get these sorts of things sent to me so I can study them, take a test, and get some CME credits)
your local doctors, who are no doubt telling you to get this 10% effective flu shot? Are they at least also telling you to make sure your vitamin D level are adequate? Do they know about
this study and the effectiveness vitamin D showed against flu? If not, why not? It just makes me think that I can not trust our medical system to point to anything that might be good for my health other than what comes from the pharmaceutical companies. I hate to sound so cynical, but how can they pound the table year after year for flu shots- even 10% effective flu shots- and not at least also tell you about
alternatives that might be even way more helpful? And why are there no good, high quality placebo controlled trials to really tell us? (or are there?)
Post Edited (BillyBob@388) : 12/5/2017 1:19:11 PM (GMT-7)