Sunday, November 18, 2012

Flu Vaccination - Is it worth it?

As some of you may know, naturopathic doctors recently received prescribing rights in Ontario.  BC Naturopaths have been prescribing for over 1 year now and have access to almost all prescription medication.  We have yet to see what this will mean for Ontario NDs – BUT – I spend last week being retaught Pharmacology by 2 pharmacists from BC in preparation for what is to come.  Some of what was taught surprised me to such an extent I feel compelled to share it with you, so expect the next few blogs to be from that course.

The first surprise I got was that these PHARMACISTS felt that the FLU SHOT was a waste of time and money.  We examined literature from the Cochrane library, the medical community’s number one go to for literature reviews  to come to this conclusion.  So, let’s look at the numbers together and make a conclusion.

The likelihood of getting the flu each year is about 5 % in adults (1-10%)

The flu vaccination will decrease your chance of getting the flu for adults by 60 - 75%, depending on the study you read.

This means if you get the vaccination, your risk of getting the flu will decrease from 5% to 1% at best. (CD001269*)

22-25%of people who get the vaccination will experience adverse effects, such as flu like symptoms and headaches.

In patients with asthma there was shown to be no reduction in exacerbations caused by influenza.

In patients with COPD there WAS a slight reduction in exacerbation. CD002733

There was no benefit for children under the age of 2 (CD 004879)

In elderly, some benefits was shown but results are of poor quality and there is no guidance regarding safety, efficacy or effectiveness for people over the age of 65.

 To summarize, you have a 95% chance of not getting influenza this winter without getting the flu vaccination, getting the vaccine will change this to 96% of not getting the flu - you decide.
So the data is supporting what we at Natliving believed all along, live a healthy lifestyle and  boost your immune system naturally if necessary.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Debbie Smrz and the Natlving team

* references the study in the Cochrane Library