Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have observed a rising movement against vaccinations. California just passed a law requiring all students to get vaccinated in order to be able to get a public education. The issue of vaccination as it relates to personal choice even came up during the Republican presidential debates.
Here we have an interesting article from Vox that details both the harms and benefits of the annual flu vaccine. We really like this balanced, science-based approach to this hot button issue.
Here’s what they say:
In kids, the highest-quality evidence — a randomized controlled trial — suggests the vaccine works well enough: On average, if you give six kids under the age of 6 a flu shot, you can expect to prevent one case of the flu. For children under age 2, the benefits are less clear; the evidence, the researchers found, was scant, and of the research that was available, it seemed the efficacy of the shot was similar to placebo.
In adults, however, the vaccine’s effects are more modest. “Depending on the season,” explained Tom Jefferson, an author on these Cochrane reviews, “you need to vaccinate anywhere between 33 and 100 people to avoid one set of symptoms.” In a good year, when the WHO guesses correctly and the flu shot matches the strains in circulation, you need to give 33 adults flu shots, on average, to prevent one case of illness. In a year when the WHO guesses badly, you need to vaccinate 100 people to prevent one flu case.