Each year millions of Americans get the flu. In fact, the CDC estimates that anywhere from 5% to 20% of the US population will become infected each year. These infections will lead to roughly 200,000 hospitalizations and anywhere from 3,000 up to about 49,000 deaths. To combat this virus, the CDC recommends that all Americans, except those who are less than 6 months of age or immune-compromised, receive an annual flu vaccine.
Manufacturers of the flu vaccine distribute around 200,000,000 vaccines each year in the US. The CDC estimates that 45% of the population is getting vaccinated. This generates around $2,000,000,000 in revenues, according to a report by CNBC.
With revenues so high, it’s no surprise that manufacturers and the CDC are always pushing more of us to get the flu vaccine. But, does the vaccine work? And, what are the risks? We’re told it’s safe. But, by who’s standards? And, what about long term testing to determine if it’s safe to get the shot year after year after year?
According to the National Vaccine Information Center (NCIV), there are more questions than answers. NCIV also cites risks which seem to be ignored by the vaccine’s manufacturers and the CDC.
Most people who get the flu vaccine would probably be surprised to learn that the effectiveness is sometimes quite low. CDC indicates that effectiveness is all over the place, but hasn’t been above 60% in recent years. And, if you think 60% sucks, it was down to 10% in the 2004-2005 flu season. On average, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine is around 40%.