Research Says That Flu Shots Are Not Adequate Enough To Fight The Virus

Influenza or flu virus is a lading cause for infections in United States. In order to provide protection from the virus, flu shots are administered to over 90% of American every year. However, latest research has showed that administration of shots alone might not be affective enough to curb the influenza menace. The report also said that although 90% of the Americans are vaccinated every year, the vaccine only provides protection to 59% of the recipients. Estimates, however, tell a different story. According to estimates nearly 70% to 90% of Americans will be immune to the virus. Researchers opine that there has to more efficient devices that will provide a higher level of protection against the influenza virus. It has also been noticed that the number of infections and deaths due to influenza virus are on a rise in the country despite the vaccinations. 

CIDRAP team of researchers lead by Dr. Michael Osterholm said that a number of papers that were published on assessment of influenza infections and the effectiveness of vaccinations in control of the virus, between the period of 1967 and 2011 were studied and results were analyzed. The objective of the study was to find proofs about effectiveness of influenza vaccinations. The other objective of the study that correlates with effectiveness study is efficacy. This is the concept that explains the extent of effectiveness of the vaccination. In other words, efficacy explains how well a drug does the job that it is supposed to do. The study took into consideration all the cases of influenza that were confirmed after extensive testing using advanced and precise diagnostic procedures. A total of 5707 articles were screened and analyzed.

Among these studies 31 studies were identified that included reports of live attenuated influenza vaccine and trivalent inactivated vaccine. Among the 31 studies that were narrowed down, 14 were observational studies and 17 were randomized controlled trials. The results of the study showed that TIV produced immunity in 59% of people to whom the vaccination was administered. The reports showed that these people were aged between 18 and 65. People above the age of 65 and those below the age of 18 were not included in the study. In comparison, LAIV proved more effective for children aged between 6 months and 7 years. The efficiency of vaccinations was 75%. Further, the study also found that the vaccinations protected around 35% of people against seasonal flu. Researchers said that developing new antigens for vaccinations will be more effective in providing enhanced protection.