Mike Edmond, on the always entertaining blog Controversies in Hospital Infection Protection, has a very interesting post: The almighty influenza vaccine. Excerpt:
A recent study in Clinical Infectious Disease that analyzed the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine for the 2014-15 season was sent to me by a colleague. Wow. Overall effectiveness (for influenza A and B combined) was a whopping 19%, but for influenza A was 6%. Honestly, placebo is more effective than that. For the 2015-16 season, overall effectiveness was 47%, and 55% for influenza A.
CDC used to cite that the flu vaccine was 70-90% effective, but more recently they have revised that significantly. I was quite surprised when I looked at the CDC website today ...
In 12 consecutive flu seasons, effectiveness hit 60% just once. If you average those 12 seasons, the effectiveness was 41%. We are sorely in need of a better vaccine.
The CDC analysis begs many questions: Should hospitals make this weakly effective vaccine a condition of employment? Should SHEA take another look at its guideline? Does anyone still believe that we should fire healthcare workers that are not vaccinated with a vaccine that provides such poor protection? How many hospitals fire employees who come to work sick with influenza? Would you rather be hospitalized at a hospital with a mandatory flu vaccine policy or a hospital that makes a serious attempt to minimize presenteeism?