What Everyone Should to Know About Flu Shots

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If you have received a flu shot in the past or are considering one this year, there are a few surprising facts about flu shots that may make you reconsider getting one.

You may have heard that the flu vaccine is 60 percent effective in preventing the flu but this figure is merely a manipulation of statistics.  The fact is flu shots prevent the flu in only 1.5 people out of every 100 persons who receive the shot!  

So how did they come up with “60 percent effective”?  

Shocking Flu Shot Statistics
Compared to the common cold, the flu is not a common illness at all.  A Lancet study has reported that only 2.7 people out of 100 get the flu in the first place.  This means you only have a 2.7 percent chance of getting the flu if you do not get the flu shot.  They have found that among people getting flu shots, 1.2 people out of 100 get the flu, a reduction of 1.5 people.  If you divide 1.5 by 2.7 you get 56 percent.  Add in a few other variables, round up and you come up with 60 percent.  

This “60 percent effective” is very misleading.  The casual reader might think if they get a flu shot there is a 60 percent chance they will not get the flu.  In actuality, they are reducing their chance of getting the flu by only 1.5 percent!  Another way of putting it is flu shots do not work in 98.5 percent of people who receive the shot. 

Flu Shots Do Not Protect Against The Common Cold 
The flu, which is an illness involving fever, headache, fatigue and body aches is rare.  Only 2.7 people out of 100 get it each year!  The common cold, however, is very common, hence the name.   There are over one billion cases of “the cold” every year in the U.S.  Cold symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, and headache.

Many people think “colds” and “the flu” are the same.  They are not.  Many people are under the false impression that a flu shot will protect from colds but they do not.  Flu shots are barely effective against the flu and offer no protection whatsoever from the common cold. 

Vitamin D is 8 Times More Effective Than Flu Shots
If you really want to reduce your chances of getting a cold or the flu this year, skip the shot and take vitamin D3. 

A recent study found that among children taking 1200 IUs of vitamin D3 a day, only 18 of them got the flu compared to 31 children that did not take vitamin D.  This means vitamin D was responsible for an absolute reduction of nearly 8 percent.  If we manipulate the statistics like the authors of the Lancet study did, vitamin D appears to be 800 percent more effective than flu shots!

Here are the dosages health experts are recommending:

Children       1,000-5,000IU/day 

Teenagers    5,000IU/day

Adults           5,000-10,000IU/day  

 

Sources:

  1. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Volume 12, Issue 1, Pages 36 – 44, January 2012.
  2. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 10, 2010.