Last year, the flu vaccine in the United Kingdom was even more of a failure than in the U.S. In the U.K., during the 2014-15 flu season the flu vaccine was only 3% effective.
The Conversation described this as “one bad year,” but even during a good year the effectiveness is usually around 50%, which means whether or not it will protect you amounts to the flip of a coin.1
So it’s no wonder that this year the U.K. is seeing low uptake of the vaccine—influenza vaccination rates are down 6% compared to last year.2 Vaccination rates are even low among groups considered to be most vulnerable to the flu, such as the elderly, children under 5 and those with chronic heart, lung or kidney disease.
The fact is that people are right to be skeptical about an annual vaccine with this kind of questionable track record. Its effectiveness is wholly dependent on the educated “guesses” of public health officials to choose the “right” influenza strains that circulate widely in any given year to include in the vaccine.
And then they are banking on the hope that the virus won’t mutate into a new strain between the time the vaccine is developed in the spring and when the “flu season” begins in the fall.
This is precisely what happened last year. In June 2015, research was published in Cell Reports showing that the influenza A virus that had widely circulated during the 2014-2015 flu season had mutated. However, that mutation was not factored in when the vaccine was developed in early 2014.3
Even then, if all conditions are accounted for and you’ve been vaccinated against the exact same influenza strain you’re likely to be exposed to in real life, the vaccine is not 100-percent effective. As mentioned, on a good year it may only be 50 or 60% effective.
Note: This article was reprinted with the author’s permission. It was originally published on Dr. Mercola’s website at www.mercola.com as part of a larger article titled “Flu Flop: Another Year of Dangerous CDC Lies.”
1 2 Why have people turned their backs on the flu vaccine this year? The Conversation Nov. 16, 2015.
3 Chambers BS, Parkhouse K, Ross TM, Alby K, Hensley SE. Identification of Hemagglutinin Residues Responsible for H3N2 Antigenic Drift during the 2014–2015 Influenza Season Cell Reports 12(1); 1–6 July 7, 2015.
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza (Flu), 2013-2014 Influenza Season. Aug. 26, 2014.
5 Cooper M. DoD Influenza Surveillance and Vaccine Effectiveness. FDA. gov.