This time of year I get a lot of questions from patients wondering if they should get the flu vaccine. Let me share some recent reports on the vaccine that I have come across.
Flu shots have shown an inconsistent effect in the elderly. Even though flu vaccine coverage of elderly people in the US grew from 15 percent in 1980 to 65% by the mid- 1990s, no corresponding drop in the death rate was reported.
A more recent study evaluated thousands of people age 65 or older during 10 consecutive winter flu seasons. What they found was people who got shots during a given flu season were one-fourth less likely to be hospitalized and half as likely to die of any cause during that season as were unvaccinated people.
John D Treanor, an infectious disease physician at the University of Rochester felt, "The vaccine’s got to be doing something, but I think there are some legitimate doubts about the magnitude of the shots’ effects.
I personally do not recommend the vaccine, especially for the healthy population that I see. If they get the flu it can be treated effectively with homeopathic remedies and I.V. vitamin therapy. In the 20 years I have been practicing not one person has been hospitalized due to the flu.
Terry Pfau DO, HMD