Would You Take a Toxic Flu Shot That Works Half The Time?

Remember that warning I posted about two drugs -- Tamiflu and Relenza -- that were found to be ineffective against the avian flu, an imaginary problem that just won't go away.

The New England Journal of Medicine jumped into the avian flu mess today with a new study (free article link below) that measured the efficacy of a vaccine on humans. Hope it bothers you as much as it does me that researchers could claim the trial was successful at all after learning their vaccine worked about 50 percent of the time.

And, that's not all folks. The vaccine only works when it's given in a total dose, says the lead researcher, or 12 times what you'd typically receive in a seasonal flu vaccine...

Different dosages of the Sanofi-Aventis vaccine earmarked for the H5N1 virus -- ranging from 7.5-90 micrograms -- were given to more than 400 patients (ages 18-64). Only half of the patients in the group receiving two doses of 90 micrograms four weeks apart made enough antibodies to match the effect of a standard flu shot.

Besides a flu outbreak, there's are more relevant outcomes that require your attention: You run the real risk of receiving a vaccine loaded with thimerosal (the mercury-based preservative) or one that was improperly made.

New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 354, No. 13, March 30, 2006: 1343-1351 Free Full Text Article

USA Today March 30, 2006

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