Health care workers to be required to get flu shot Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Danville Weekly Online, on Sep 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm
Health care workers in Contra Costa County will have to "practice what we preach" beginning this flu season, county health officials said Monday. Dr. William Walker, health officer for Contra Costa County, has mandated that all health care workers in the county receive the annual flu vaccination or wear a mask while working.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 11:26 AM
Posted by Bayareamom, a resident of the San Ramon neighborhood, on Sep 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm
Folks may want to view the following:
Medical reviews conclude influenza immunizations ineffective:
"Two separate reviews of medical data on the effectiveness of vaccinating people to prevent influenza showed there were no benefits to being vaccinated for the flu. Epidemiologist Dr. Tom Jefferson, who is with the Cochrane Vaccines Field, participated in two different reviews of medical studies related to influenza vaccines. Both reviews were published by the Cochrane Collaboration. Dr. Jefferson summarized the conclusions of the reviews in a podcast."
"... The reviews are very different in their content but not in their conclusions. Both ... highlight serious problems with the current evidence base."
... The implausible results of the studies are that the vaccines appear effective against those outcomes least likely to be caused by influenza viruses; such as influenza-like illness, hospitalization and death from all causes. In contrast they show only modest or no effect against influenza and hospitalization from pneumonia."
... our reviews include a number of studies funded by industry. An early systematic review of all influenza vaccine studies published between 1948 and 2007 found that industry-funded studies were published in more prestigious journals and were cited more than other studies but their methodological quality and size were the same as the other studies. Studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favourable to the vaccines."
"In conclusion we have no reliable evidence on the effects of influenza vaccines on the elderly and health care workers who work with the elderly. What we do have evidence of is widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies."
..."In Vaccines for preventing influenza in the elderly, Doctors Jefferson, Di Pietrantonj, Al-Ansary, Ferroi, Thorning and Thomas reviewed 40 years worth of gathered records on influenza shots given to adults 65 years and older, which included 75 studies. The reviewers concluded more testing was required before anyone could say flu shots are effective."
"The available evidence is of poor quality and provides no guidance regarding the safety, efficacy or effectiveness of influenza vaccines for people aged 65 years or older. To resolve the uncertainty, an adequately powered publicly-funded randomised, placebo-controlled trial run over several seasons should be undertaken."
"In the second review, called Influenza vaccination for healthcare workers who work with the elderly, Doctors Thomas, Jefferson and Lasserson looked at five available studies for the identified population group and concluded -
"... there is no evidence that vaccinating HCWs prevents influenza in elderly residents in LTCFs. High quality RCTs are required to avoid risks of bias in methodology and conduct, and to test these interventions in combination."
"Not in babies: In a review of more than 51 studies involving more than 294,000 children it was found there was “no evidence that injecting children 6-24 months of age with a flu shotwas any more effective than placebo. In children over 2 yrs, it was only effective 33% of the time in preventing the flu."
Reference: “Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2 (2008).
"Not in children with asthma: A study 800 children with asthma, where one half were vaccinated and the other half did not receive the influenza vaccine. The two groups were compared with respect to clinic visits, emergency department (ED) visits, and hospitalizations for asthma. CONCLUSION: This study failed to provide evidence that the influenza vaccine prevents pediatric asthma exacerbations."
Reference: “Effectiveness of influenza vaccine for the prevention of asthma exacerbations.” Christly, C. et al. Arch Dis Child. 2004 Aug;89(8):734-5.
"Not in children with asthma (2): “The inactivated flu vaccine, Flumist, does not prevent influenza-related hospitalizations in children, especially the ones with asthma…In fact, children who get the flu vaccine are more at risk for hospitalization than children who do not get the vaccine.”
Reference: The American Thoracic Society’s 105th International Conference, May 15-20, 2009, San Diego.
"Not in adults: In a review of 48 reports including more than 66,000 adults, “Vaccination of healthy adults only reduced risk of influenza by 6% and reduced the number of missed work days by less than one day (0.16) days. It did not change the number of people needing to go to hospital or take time off work.”
Reference: “Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 1 (2006).
"Not in the Elderly: In a review of 64 studies in 98 flu seasons, For elderly living in nursing homes, flu shots were non-significant for preventing the flu. For elderly living in the community, vaccines were not (significantly) effective against influenza, ILI or pneumonia.
Reference: “Vaccines for preventing influenza in the elderly.”
Reference: The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.3 (2006).
TORONTO – "A strange vaccine-related phenomenon spotted at the start of the 2009 flu pandemic may well have been real, a new study suggests.
Canadian researchers noticed in the early weeks of the pandemic that people who got a flu shot for the 2008-2009 winter seemed to be more likely to get infected with the pandemic virus than people who hadn’t received a flu shot.
Five studies done in several provinces showed the same puzzling and unsettling results. But initially research outside of Canada did not, and the effect was dismissed as “the Canadian problem.”
..."A group of Canadian researchers recreated the event in ferrets, the best animal model for predicting how influenza will act in humans. They worked with animals because it would have been unethical to subject people to the health risks the work entailed.
The findings of the ferret study were presented Sunday at ICAAC, a major international infectious diseases conference taking place this year in San Francisco. (ICAAC stands for the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.)
Lead author Dr. Danuta Skowronski outlined the work at a webcast press conference. Skowronski, an influenza expert at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver, also led the first study that spotted the apparent interaction between 2008 flu shots and pandemic flu infection.
She and her colleagues worked with 32 ferrets, giving half the 2008 seasonal flu shot and the remainder a placebo injection. The work was blinded, meaning the researchers didn’t know which ferrets received which shot. Later, all the ferrets were infected with the pandemic H1N1 virus.
The ferrets in the vaccine group became significantly sicker than the other animals, though all recovered.
“The findings that we show are consistent with the increased risk that we saw in the human studies,” Skowronski said.
She said that in the time since the pandemic, researchers in other countries have reported a similar interaction..."
I would also encourage those who read this article, to pay particular attention to the comments below. Well worth the reading...
Posted by thomas, a resident of the San Ramon neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm
I think that I would put more credence into information coming from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Their epidemiology reports relate to both the US and the world.
It is easy to become complacent about diseases that can be fatal, when we live in a place that is so clean and we have access to health care. Herd immunity can protect those who place their health in the hands of alternative viewpoints, but only to an extent. I don't want it to be my baby or my mother who becomes the statistics in the influenza morbidity and mortality report.
Posted by Annonymous, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2012 at 2:56 am
Thank you to Bayareamom for shedding some light on this subject and documenting another side of this issue. Every person should become educated on this subject and then have the right to choose whether or not to have a flu shot. I happen to be a health care worker and am appalled that Dr. William Walker can mandate me to have a flu shot. It is my body and I will decide what goes into it, not him. I have never had a flu shot and don't plan on getting one unless I become immunosuppressed. The flu shots do not prevent one from getting the flu. There are many flu viruses each year, The flu shot only immunizes you from a few of those viruses and are someone's best guess as to what viruses will be prominent that year. This is a matter of human rights and not having someone mandate to me what I do with my body.
Posted by Pedal Power, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2012 at 11:23 am
Thank you for posting this information; I am a believer in vaccinations in general but will for sure be reviewing more data before getting flu shots this year. My experience with them has been positive wrt minimal effects and not catching flu, but I have only had sever flu a couple of times in my life, even without flu shots, so maybe I am just not that susceptible. But, in my non medical opinion, it is unwise to lump flu shots in with other vaccinations like polio, smallpox etc.
Posted by Derek the Healthy, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Sep 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm
I take a rather jaundiced eye of the Cochrane Collaboration studies, given some of the grand pronouncements (later proven false - like autism links as just one example) they tend to make. I cannot buy what they are pushing due to overwhelming personal experience.
The matter of Big Pharma having a malignant effect on on governing bodies is not in question, but that's a subject for another discussion.
Here's what I know for certain Bayareamom: in the 35 years before I began taking flu shots, I was sick a lot despite generally good health otherwise. Multiple times each year I would have colds that became severe, body flues, and other ailments that supposedly are not helped by flue vaccines. The year I started getting them, the illnesses stopped or greatly diminished in severity like a brick wall had been erected. That was a decade and a half ago. The lone year since that I failed to get one, I had a flu that was so serious it resulted in gross enlargement of my spleen and liver, and hospitalization.
My child, parents, and sister all had similar experience with the cessation of serious bugs when they started getting vaccinated. Enough evidence of the efficacy for me, thank you.
Here's a typical article citing the Cochrane study to which you refer: Web Link
Miss Stevenson, the author, manages to draw some imaginative conclusions of her own, and appear to be a hack at best. Among this, she strongly implies that it (the continuing push of flu shots) must be a conspiracy by the greedy drug companies. Again, that they are greedy is not in question. However, she conveniently overlooks the unquestionable fact that flu vaccines are extremely low profit, knocking her little paranoia machine a bit off-kilter. There have been years when companies have had losses on flu vaccines, in fact.
Another typical example of flue vaccine hysteria is at the top of this page, but keep reading: Web Link
I do believe flu vaccine use should be strongly questioned if one has type I diabetes, and perhaps the efficacy is not there with younger children under two. But the conclusions Cochrane draws for those above 65, again, due to pretty wide ranging experience with older buddies, parents, and relatives seems completely at odds with what I have seen.
Do as you wish, or if you are a nurse, doctor, or nurse assistant, wear a mask. No one will hold you down and force you to take a shot, but I'm a true believer.