Let’s start out by saying the Cochrane Collaboration is generally awesome – high quality evidence, available for free. So when it comes to getting a definitive answer about the flu and the effectiveness of vaccination, who better to turn to?
Unfortunately, the evidence out there is pretty limited. Although there were many trials studied here, almost half were funded by the industry, and in the notes below the article Cochrane notes that “… studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines.” Even still, the outcome was also not amazing – vaccines have a modest effect on symptoms, and if you look at the numbers, 33 people need to be vaccinated to prevent one set of symptoms.
Remember, this refers to health patient’s between 16 and 65 – patient’s at high risk of developing complications from influenza (such as those with COPD), need to be vaccinated.
Sound off in the comments below with your opinion – do you yourself get vaccinated? Update yourself with the Cochrane review over here.