Tag: benefits

Does a Flu Shot Increase Your Risk of Getting Other Respiratory Viruses?

Why do some folks think that getting a flu vaccine will make you more susceptible to getting sick with other respiratory viruses?

A flu shot does not make you more susceptible to getting other respiratory infections.
This year’s flu vaccine is not only 9% effective!

The usual suspects…

Does a Flu Shot Increase Your Risk of Getting Other Respiratory Viruses?

How would a flu shot increase your risk of getting other respiratory viruses?

There is actually a theory for how this might work.

“Receiving influenza vaccination may increase the risk of other respiratory viruses, a phenomenon known as virus interference.”

Greg Wolff on Influenza Vaccination and Respiratory Virus Interference Among Department of Defense Personnel During the 2017-2018 Influenza Season

Its called virus interference.

“The virus interference phenomenon goes against the basic assumption of the test-negative vaccine effectiveness study that vaccination does not change the risk of infection with other respiratory illness, thus potentially biasing vaccine effectiveness results in the positive direction.”

Greg Wolff on Influenza Vaccination and Respiratory Virus Interference Among Department of Defense Personnel During the 2017-2018 Influenza Season

Fortunately, while a few have, most studies have shown that getting a flu shot does not cause virus interference!

“It’s not clear why this finding was detected in the one study, but the preponderance of evidence suggests that this is not a common or regular occurrence and that influenza vaccination does not, in fact, make people more susceptible to other respiratory infections.”

CDC on Misconceptions about Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines

But why would a flu vaccine cause virus interference?

It is based on temporary nonspecific immunity, or the idea that after you get one respiratory virus, you then get protection against others for a few weeks because of your body’s innate immune response to that first infection.

So for the flu vaccine to cause this type of virus interference, making it more likely that you would get other respiratory infections, it would only be because your vaccine protected you from getting the flu!

You therefore didn’t have the innate immune response against the flu that might protect you against other respiratory viruses for a few weeks.

While that might be considered a benefit of getting sick with the flu, most studies have not actually found evidence of virus interference.

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Why Do We Combine Vaccines?

Do you know why they combine multiple vaccines into a single shot?

Have you ever wondered why we combine vaccines? It's not a conspiracy...
It’s not a conspiracy…

Not surprisingly, your answer likely says a lot about what you think about vaccines

Why Do We Combine Vaccines?

Combination vaccines aren’t new.

The DPT vaccine was one of the first vaccines to be combined and that was way back in 1948. Before that, protection against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis came from three separate injections.

Want your child to get single antigen vaccines instead of a combo because you think they are getting too much in a combination vaccine? Keep in mind that the original DTP vaccine contained 3,002 antigens in each dose. And now, they get about 650 antigens from all of the vaccines they get during their whole childhood!

Which combination vaccine came next?

No, it wasn’t MMR.

How many antigens did kids get with this old schedule?

When the first polio vaccines came out, kids got three separate vaccines against the three strains of polio. They were later combined into the single polio vaccines.

And to reduce the number of injections even further, from 1959 to 1968, Quadrigen, a DTP/Polio combination was available!

And then came the MMR combination vaccine in 1971, combining protection against measles, mumps, and rubella into one shot.

Are you starting to see why we combine vaccines?

It helps reduce the number of injections that a child receives at one visit.

It has nothing to do with trying to hide any proof of a vaccine injury, after all, most parents still get their kids the same vaccines, whether or not they are combined.

Is it to save money?

In general, combination vaccines are about the same price as individual vaccines. Some are a little more and some are a little less.

It is typically easier to order, store, and administer a combination vaccine than each of the individual vaccines separately though, which can save moey. Using combination vaccines may also help to reduce errors.

Still, combining vaccines has never been about anything more than reducing the number of shots that kids have to get to be protected.

“So, at a doctor’s visit, your child may only get two or three shots to protect him from five diseases, instead of five individual shots. Fewer shots may mean less pain for your child and less stress for you.”

CDC on Combination Vaccines

Combination vaccines allow kids today to get 10 vaccines to protect them against 14 vaccine preventable diseases, but as few as 23 individual shots by age five years.

“Combination vaccines were associated with improved completion and compliance and should be encouraged among children who are undervaccinated or who received single-antigen vaccines only.”

Kurosky et al on Effect of combination vaccines on completion and compliance of childhood vaccinations in the United States

And it helps to keep vaccination rates up!

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Vaccines and Profiting Pediatricians

Why do some people think that pediatricians are only in it for money, working to maximize profits over the health and safety of the kids that they care for?

As they traditionally rank among the lowest paid medical doctors, even with the millions in vaccine bonuses they supposedly get, if pediatricians are only in it for the money, they are doing it wrong...
As they traditionally rank among the lowest paid medical doctors, even with the millions in vaccine bonuses they supposedly get, if pediatricians are only in it for the money, they are doing it wrong…

The usual suspects…

Vaccines and Profiting Pediatricians

Even if you believed that the average pediatrician would put profits over the health and safety of their patients, your next thought should then be why on earth would they ever vaccinate anyone…

Consider the rotavirus vaccine.

We hear a lot about the cost savings from decreased hospitalizations and ER visits because of the rotavirus vaccine.

“During the pre-rotavirus vaccine era, it was estimated that 410,000 physician visits; 205-272,000 ED visits; and 55,000–70,000 hospitalizations were attributable to rotavirus infections in U.S. children, costing approximately $1 billion annually.”

It is important to remember that for every visit to the emergency room, many more visited their pediatrician.

“National diarrhea-related healthcare visits during rotavirus season decreased by 48% (95% CI: 47%-48%) in 2008 and by 35% (95% CI: 34%-35%) in 2009 compared with the mean rate from the 2005 and 2006 rotavirus seasons.”

Yen et al on Decline in rotavirus hospitalizations and health care visits for childhood diarrhea following rotavirus vaccination in El Salvador

And now they don’t…

Pediatricians also see fewer kids with ear infections thanks to Prevnar and we rarely see a child with chickenpox.

“There was an overall downward trend in OM-related health care use from 2001 to 2011. The significant reduction in OM visit rates in 2010-2011 in children younger than 2 years coincided with the advent of PCV-13.”

Marom et al on Trends in Otitis Media–Related Health Care Use in the United States, 2001-2011

If the idea is to keep kids sick, then why vaccinate and protect them from diseases that would fill up our offices with sick kids?

“Using household-reported data we found a pattern of increased use of well visits and decreased sick visits across the last decade and half, resulting in a net decrease of roughly a third of a visit per child since 2002. The pattern was consistent for privately and publicly insured children. Multiple factors likely account for these trends, including the possibility that greater use of well visits and improvements in medicine may be helping to improve child health.”

Trends in Pediatric Well and Sick Visits, 2002-16

And contrary to the very warped idea that pediatricians vaccinate kids to promote vaccine injuries that keep kids sick, we know that propaganda about the unhealthiest generation is just that – propaganda.

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Is This Year’s Flu Shot Only 9% Effective?

Why do some people think that this year’s flu shot is only 9% effective?

A statement or tweet from the CDC?

The CDC has not released any information on the effectiveness of this year's flu shot yet.
The CDC has not released any information on the effectiveness of this year’s flu shot yet.

Not exactly…

Is This Year’s Flu Shot Only 9% Effective?

As the 2019-20 flu season is just getting started, we don’t actually know how effective this year’s flu vaccine will be…

She was tweeting an old story about last year's flu vaccine and the 9% number was just about one strain in the vaccine. The adjusted overall vaccine effectiveness for the 2018-19 flu vaccine was actually 47%.
Greta Van Susteren was tweeting an old story about last year’s flu vaccine and the 9% number was just about one strain in the vaccine. The adjusted overall vaccine effectiveness for the 2018-19 flu vaccine was actually 47%.

Early estimates are typically posted in mid-February.

Will we get this year’s flu vaccine effectiveness estimates early because flu season started early?

As some predicted, the circulating H3N2 strains are of a different clade than the ones in the vaccine though…

Will it help that all circulating strains are antigenically similar to the flu virus strains in this year’s flu vaccine?

Or that we are seeing more flu B this year?

During the 2017-18 flu season, the flu vaccine worked much better against flu B strains.

We don’t typically talk about flu vaccine effectiveness against flu B strains because they aren’t a big part of our flu seasons, but in general, flu vaccines work well against flu B.

“In general, current flu vaccines tend to work better against influenza B and influenza A(H1N1) viruses and offer lower protection against influenza A(H3N2) viruses.”

Vaccine Effectiveness: How Well Do the Flu Vaccines Work?

In fact, they often work better against flu B than against other strains, so maybe it will turn out to be a good thing if we see more flu B than H3N2 this year…

The flu vaccine has many benefits besides preventing you from getting the flu.
The flu vaccine has many benefits besides preventing you from getting the flu.

But most importantly, we know that the flu vaccine has many benefits and few side effects, so even when it isn’t a perfect match it makes sense to get vaccinated and protected.

And know that until we get a better, universal flu vaccine, folks should know that talk about flu vaccine effectiveness is largely academic, as a yearly flu vaccine remains the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu and developing serious complications from the flu.

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