Despite powerful evidence to the contrary, the conventional view is that the best way to protect yourself against influenza is to get a seasonal flu shot. This flies in the face of a multitude of studies showing that:
- The flu vaccine fails to work for many people.Case in point: The 2012/2013 flu vaccine contained a very good match to the circulating strains, yet the reported effectiveness of the vaccine was still only slightly over 60 percent.
According to Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota:1 “A match doesn’t tell us how well a vaccine is going to work. It’s almost meaningless.”
- Vaccinating against one strain of influenza may actually increase your risk of exposure to related but different strains.
The latter point makes recent vaccine developments particularly troublesome, as vaccine researchers are hard at work developing a “universal” flu vaccine that is supposed to protect against virtually all subtypes of influenza—hypothetically, at least.
As new research shows, this may be a very dangerous hypothesis to pursue in order to promote the idea that universal use of a “universal” flu vaccine is necessary and will be a safe and effective public health policy.