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Flu Jabs Could be a Waste of Time

The above is a part of a headline in the October 27, 2006 publication of the United Kingdom publication the Telegraph. The content, and many others on the same subject, were initiated due to a report appearing inside the October 28, 2006 publication of the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ). In the BMJ report, Dr. Tom Jefferson notes that numerous studies on flu vaccinations were of low quality and showed proof of bias.

Dr. Jefferson is the coordinator of the vaccines portion of the Cochrane Collaboration, a completely independent group that reviews research and tests its validity. In line with
the Telegraph article Dr. Jefferson has analyzed the best available evidence showing the impact of vaccination on the population. He states, "I am considering the space between evidence and policy. I have checked out the facts. All I can say is that I haven't found the evidence."

After an intensive overview of scientific studies available on Flu vaccinations, Dr. Jefferson discovered that as much as the age of two, infants were no better off getting the vaccination than getting a placebo. Likewise, he also discovered that there is little proof of benefit for older kids as well. Contrary to common vaccination recommendations he couldn't find enough proof of benefit for those who have chronic chest problems, asthma and cystic fibrosis.

The report even highlights deficiency of consistent evidence in elderly populations. Dr. Jefferson noted the wide swing in statistics and attributes this inconsistency to biased reporting and inconsistencies in surveillance. In healthy populations, the BMJ report showed no evidence of requirement for Flu vaccine. Evidence showed among healthy people under 65 who received a flu vaccination, there was no influence on possible hospital stay, time off work, or death from influenza and its complications.

Dr. Jefferson's report calls into question the aggressive vaccination policies and recommendations. The report noted, "The large gap between policy and exactly what the data tell us (when rigorously assembled and evaluated) is surprising." In concluding his report, Dr. Jefferson remarks on the common fear spread about Flu predictions which commonly make the general press and send masses scurrying to get their shots, "The optimistic and confident tone of some predictions of viral circulation and of the impact of inactivated vaccines, which are at odds with the evidence, is striking."

As a side note, 28 news outlets reported on this finding from the BMJ. It is interesting to note that no mainstream US news outlets covered the story and only 3 news publications of any kind in the US even carried this story.

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