Every winter there is a call to summon us to the doctor’s surgery for a flu injection.  Now I am the possessor of a bus pass I am automatically on the list and I have had to strenuously resist the surgery’s attempts to book me in.

If you want it, fine by me, but as a great believer in prevention in terms of vitamin C, homoeopathy and Echinacea I don’t see the need to add something to my body that it doesn’t need.

That view was strengthened this week by a new scientific study published in The Lancet that reveals that influenza vaccines only prevent influenza in 1.5 out of every 100 adults.    They don’t tell us if these are the vulnerable 1.5 who actually need it – and please who is the .5?  Having seen that it surprised me to see in the media that “flu vaccines are 60% effective” which although I wasn’t any good at maths at school doesn’t strike me as being quite accurate.

Now you would think that it means that of every 100 people injected at least 60 won’t get the flu, which is clearly not the case if it’s 1.5 in a 100 is it?    Well it makes sense if you actually delve into the actual figures where in Figure 2 of the study it shows that only about 2.7 in 100 adults get the flu in the first place.

The interesting figure to me is the control group – that is 13,095 non-vaccinated adults who were monitored to see if they caught influenza.  Only 357 of them did, which as a percentage means that over 97% of the control group stayed flu-free.

So where does the 60% come from? First, you take the 2.73% in the control group who got the flu, and you divide that into the 1.18% in the treatment group who got the flu. This gives you 0.43.  You can then say that 0.43 is that 43% of 2.73, and from this deduce that the vaccine therefore results in a 57% decrease in influenza infections.  Decrease with a wave of the pen becomes a 57% effectiveness rate and from there it is a mere hop and a skip to claiming ‘almost’ 60% effectiveness.

Don’t you just love statistics?  I think I will stick with boosting my immune system with exercise, healthy diet and a good dose of Echinacea this winter – and I will let you know if I get the flu!

To read more from AnnA visit her website at http://www.bio-hormone-health.com/




AnnA Rushton is an experienced author and speaker on health, personal development and creativity. With a background in television, theatre and advertising she is a natural communicator with a particular interest in womens health and holistic medicine. Her books include 'Natural Progesterone', How to Cope Successfully With Stress', 'Tips For Hot Flushes', 'Dealing With Procrastination' and 'How To Write Your Life Story' all of which are available at http://www.creativecatalyst.co.uk