Flu vaccines are “over-promoted and over-hyped” and of limited effectiveness

I am rather suspicious of the enthusiasm with which influensa vaccination programs are pushed by some (including the WHO). The manufacture and sale of flu vaccines is enormously lucrative. Just in the UK the program costs £120 million every year. Worldwide just influensa vaccine sales are an estimated $4 – 5 billion. The total vaccines market is expected to grow from about $30 billion in 2012 to about $40 billion in 2015! For adult vaccines the biggest growth comes from public health programs pushing influensa vaccines:

Driving that growth is an increasing acceptance of adult vaccines and the public health focus on flu prevention, ……  world sales of adult vaccines reached $12.5B in 2010, up from $10.1B in 2009 largely on strong growth of influenza vaccines. ….

….. Most vaccine revenues are earned by five companies: Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Pfizer, and Novartis. They held nearly 80% of the market as of 2010.

The names of the members of the committees which recommend wholesale flu vaccinations are often shrouded in secrecy and often  – when revealed – are found to have unhealthy ties to the manufacturers of the vaccines.

Something smells!

The Independent takes up the issue:

The flu vaccine given to millions of people each year in Britain is “over-promoted” and “over-hyped” and the protection it offers against the seasonal illness has been exaggerated, scientists claim. Flu causes thousands of deaths, mainly among the elderly, in the UK each year but the vaccine is of limited effectiveness, especially for older people. One expert told The Independent the Government should be held accountable for “wasting taxpayer’s money” on the annual £120m national vaccination campaign. ….

… A report published by the Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, US, says the misperception that existing flu vaccines are highly effective has become a barrier to developing new and better vaccines. It also risks undermining public trust in mass immunisation campaigns if Governments fail to tell the truth about the vaccine. ….

…… Flu vaccine has to be re-formulated every year on the basis of an educated guess by experts who attempt to match it with the strains of the rapidly mutating flu virus likely to be circulating that season.

A 2010 review by the highly respected Cochrane Collaboration, an international network of experts, concluded that the vaccine had little impact in years, like the winter of 2011-12, when the vaccine and the viruses were mismatched.

On average, flu vaccine shortened the illness by about half a day but did not reduce the number of people hospitalised, it said. …….

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One Response to “Flu vaccines are “over-promoted and over-hyped” and of limited effectiveness”

  1. Prolonging problems to keep selling the solutions? « The k2p blog Says:

    […] vaccines. The benefits of vaccination against flu are dubious but the vested interest of the sellers of the vaccines in maintaining the fear of flu every winter […]

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