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On the Question of Vaccine Effectiveness

On February 26, 2015, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its vaccine effectiveness estimates for the vaccine against the influenza A and B H3N2 viruses for the 2014-2015 season. The CDC announced that the vaccine was 18% effective against the predominant A strain of the flu and 45% effective against the B strain.1 An earlier CDC estimate (on January 16) of the vaccine’s effectiveness against the A strain was 23%.1 

However, even with such low effectiveness rates, the CDC recommended that people get the vaccine based on the logic that a low degree of effectiveness is still “better than nothing.” According to the CDC, even a vaccine effectiveness of only 10% in a “severe” season could prevent about 13,000 hospitalizations.2

Even as they acknowledge the shortcomings of this year’s vaccine, public health officials have insisted that those who get vaccinated are still better off.3

In January, when the CDC’s effectiveness estimate for the the 2014-2015 influenza vaccine was at 23%, Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, was quoted as saying, “Twenty-three percent is better than nothing, and there is no downside to getting the vaccine.”4

But what exactly does the CDC mean by “vaccine effectiveness”? Essentially, what the CDC is talking about is a vaccine’s “ability to prevent” an illness or a disease.5 More specifically:

Effectiveness represents the percentage reduction in the frequency of influenza infections among people vaccinated compared with the frequency among those who were not vaccinated, assuming that the vaccine is the cause of this reduction.6

When the CDC gives a certain percentage for influenza vaccine effectiveness, such as the 18% figure, the estimate “represents the reduction in risk provided by the flu vaccine.” According to the CDC, its vaccine effectiveness studies “commonly measure laboratory confirmed flu illness that results in a doctor’s visit or urgent care visit as an outcome.” Thus, a vaccine effectiveness estimate of 18% means that the flu vaccine “reduces a person’s risk of developing flu illness that results in a visit to the doctor’s office or urgent care provider” by 18%.5

Note here the words “flu illness.” In its “guesstimates” for the number of people who have come down with influenza in past years, the CDC has taken the liberty of including those hospitalized “not just with influenza but also with pneumonia, respiratory and circulatory illnesses—which they counted as probably associated with influenza.”6 CDC officials have  taken the same liberty when estimating the number of people who have died of influenza.  They do not only count those who had lab confirmed type A or type B influenza, they also throw in “other respiratory, circulatory, cardiac and pulmonary deaths they thought might have been associated with influenza6—when the death could have been related to other types of viruses and bacteria causing symptoms resembling influenza.  

This obviously tends to distort the picture from the outset. The truth is nobody knows  exactly how many  people in the U.S. die from influenza and how many die from  flu-like respiratory illnesses that look like influenza but are caused by other types of viruses or bacteria.

There are two types of clinical studies used by vaccine manufacturers and the CDC to evaluate the effectiveness of a vaccine, such as the influenza vaccine. The first type is referred to as a  randomized control trial (RCT) and, ideally, a well designed clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness (or safety) of a vaccine is a comparison of a group of individuals who receive the vaccine and a group of individuals who do not receive the vaccine.

In a RCT, volunteers are assigned randomly to either a group that receives vaccine or a group that receives a placebo (e.g., a shot of saline), and vaccine efficacy is measured by comparing the frequency of influenza illness in the vaccinated and the unvaccinated groups. RCTs are required before a new vaccine is licensed for routine use by a national regulatory authority, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States.7

The second type is an observational study.

In observational studies the study participants make their own decisions about whether or not to be vaccinated. In this type of study, vaccine effectiveness is measured by comparing the frequency of influenza illness in the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups, usually with adjustment for factors (like presence of chronic medical conditions) that may vary between the groups.

Interestingly, there is a difference between the way CDC and medical doctors measure the effectiveness of vaccines, and the way vaccine researchers and manufacturers measure vaccine effectiveness or “efficacy.”  While vaccine effectiveness is a look at the perceived clinical “real world” impact of vaccines on preventing illness and disease, vaccine efficacy is a lab measurement of vaccines being able to stimulate the production of antibodies in a  research setting.8

So when a vaccine researcher states that the efficacy of a vaccine is at least 95%, as is supposedly the case with Merck’s MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine, he or she is referring to the vaccine’s ability to stimulate antibodies. That is not the same as the vaccine being at least 95% successful in protecting you from contracting the diseases. The underlying theory of vaccine effectiveness is based on the assumption that a certain level, or titer, of antibodies in your blood against a certain disease will make you immune to that disease. That assumption has repeatedly been proven to be false in many cases.

There continue to be numerous outbreaks of infectious diseases, in which fully vaccinated people with high antibody titers become infected. In the case of pertussis (whooping cough), for example, the CDC has stated: “The findings of efficacy studies have not demonstrated a direct correlation between antibody responses and protection against pertussis disease.”9

In the case of varicella zoster (chickenpox), according to the CDC, “No data exist regarding post exposure efficacy of the current varicella virus vaccine.”10 Even the manufacturer of the chickenpox vaccine Varivax, Merck, admits as much.

Varivax induces both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses to varicella-zoster virus. The relative contributions of humoral immunity and cell-mediated immunity to protection from varicella are unknown.11

In the case of Haemophilus influenza type B, the HibTiter vaccine’s “contribution to clinical protection is unknown.”12

In short, we do not know how effective vaccines are because there are big vaccine science knowledge gaps. While it is possible to gauge the research efficacy of vaccines based on their success in stimulating antibody production, estimating their actual clinical effectiveness seems to be more of a guessing game than anything else. Again, the reason is that the presence of antibodies does not necessarily mean you are protected.

This is the white elephant in the room that public health officials and the pharmaceutical industry do not wish to acknowledge, because it throws a monkey wrench into the flawed logic they use to aggressively push for one-size-fits-all “no exceptions” vaccine policies and laws.  


Note: For the Spanish translation of this article, see “Sobre la cuestión de la eficacia de las vacunas” in Argentina sin Vacunas.

References:

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Presents Updated Estimates of Flu Vaccine Effectiveness for the 2014-2015 Season. CDC.gov (press release) Feb. 26, 2015.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. News and Media Resources. Immunization Works Newsletter January 2015.
3 Dennis B. CDC: Flu vaccine only 23 percent effective this season, but still better than nothing. The Washington Post Jan. 15, 2015.
4 Reinberg S. This Year’s Flu Shot Is Only 23% Effective. HealthDay Jan. 16, 2015.
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine Effectiveness – How Well Does the Flu Vaccine Work?. CDC.gov.
6 Fisher BL. Influenza Deaths: The Hype vs. The Evidence. NVIC.org Oct. 3, 2012.
7 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu Vaccine Effectiveness: Questions and Answers for Health Professionals. CDC.gov.
8 Tenpenny S. Vaccine Assumptions – Are They Effective?. Ezinearticles.com May 19, 2007.
9 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis Vaccination: Use of Acellular Pertussis Vaccines Among Infants and Young Children. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report May 28, 1997; 46(RR-7): p 4.
10 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevention of Varicella. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report July 12, 1996; 45(RR-11): p 10.
11 Merck. Varivax: Highlights of Prescribing Information. Merck.com p 7.
12 RxList. HiTiter. RxList.com.

11 Responses to On the Question of Vaccine Effectiveness

  1. Vaccine Injured Reply

    April 26, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    It has been confirmed the vaccines have been effective in my family visa via Autoimmune disease. We now are the living evidence that one size fits all theory is not true. We all have in last 3 generations SLE lupus and others suffer severely from MS to Sjogrens to Thyoid disease (majority of suffering is with family members who were or are military. , sprinkled with Autism disorder in last generation. So are vaccines effective, that is absolutely correct if that includes annihilating my family as we have lost so may aleady. Common sense is gone and where in the world does it make since to have a kid and add toxic chemicals that as a parent if you fed one of them to your child you would go to prison for attempted murder yet a guy who goes to school for 8 years says its okay? These are the same guys who made money prescibing mass ssri and painkillers that are leading cause of death in todays youth. We need to put our childrens health first and they are getting sicker. My friends husband is special ed teacher said almost half have an iep by fifth grade in their school. We need to to do what is right for our kids and grandkids. Educate yourselves on vaccine ingredients and side effects. At least demand they stop giving them so many & 72 vaccine by 18 is obscene. The effects of those tba at a future date. My hope is that a voice of reason will soon be heard but at this rate I fear it is too late…. 

  2. Shawn Siegel Reply

    October 12, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    The true effectiveness of vaccines manifests in the history of the damage they cause.

    The effectiveness at disease prevention is more than adequately obfuscated by serious statistical manipulation, such as the redefining of polio after the licensing of the vaccine, and diagnostic bias, such as the unlikely diagnosis of measles in a patient who displays a measles like rash but has been vaccinated, despite the fact that the historical record shows that the likelihood that someone with measles has been vaccinated is around fifty fifty.

    But the most bizarre obstacle to accurate assessment of vaccine effectiveness lies in the stultifying effect of the resultant artificial antibodies on the common immunological responses to the respective pathogens, causing asymptomatic or atypically symptomatic infection, and rendering the vaccinated into the very surreptitious disease vectors the unvaccinated are so illogically claimed to be.

  3. GD Johnson Reply

    August 20, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    It never stops. The gov, the EPA, CDC, DHS, NSA, TSA, WHO, UN, FBI, DOD and many others are all corrupt and phony.

    Water from the faucets can now be lit on fire from nearby fracking and contamination.

    Chemtrails in our skies that release toxins that are harmful to our health under the ruse that its to protect us from global warming.

    Radiation from Fukushima killing everything in the Pacific Ocean, the birds in Alaska, Sea Stars, Whales, Dolphins, Seals, Polar Bears, etc.

    GMO’s in our foods that are so good for us that Monsanto has to get a court order to remove non GMO labels so no one can tell what’s in the food you’re buying. Although politicians eat nothing but organic food in their mess halls in D.C.

    Vaccines being forced on our children, forced on anyone who has a job in healthcare, forced on anyone who has a job with contact in relation to children, experimented on with Foster Kids, experimented on with soldiers and soon it will be the law for everyone “Healthy 2020″ to take all of the vaccines (including the new lot of 300) as well.

    If the biological labs didn’t keep making new viruses and Dyncorp didn’t own its patent, non of this continued main stream news about how great vaccines are for everyone would even exist.

    Anyone with half a brain who has not been programmed to accept the lies and payoffs by those corporate elite can understand the truth of what’s really going on.

    Its going to get real ugly before it ever gets any better.

    • Josh Reply

      August 20, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      Johnson you hit the nail on the head and said a mouthful …..It’s ALL TRUE!…tell it like it is TRUTH TELLER!

      Are you looking for hope? Is anyone looking for hope? I am!

      Research the Keshe Foundation Spaceship Institute
      A Foundation that sole mission is focused towards World Peace through New Technology.
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      Magnetic Gravitational Plasmatic Fields (MagGravs)
      With this technology you can grow lettuce in the snow (if you want). The Foundations name says it all…Spaceship Institute…..Thousands of people are currently developing the plasmatic technology in their homes around the World. Are you interested in reversing the GMO in your seed to turn them back into a landrace variety (I am)? How about Free Energy? How about harnessing the energy of stars? Curing diseases, ending hunger, healing the planet, transportation, etc.? The Keshe Foundation is responsible for developing a process for TIPCO, which is being used to clean up the 1,000’s of radioactive water tanks at Fukushima. Did you know reactor 1 had plutonium in it, meaning the Japanese were enriching plutonium (highly illegal & violates several treaties). This was determined when the foundation was doing their tests for TIPCO & the Japanese Government.

      If you’re interested in changing the World for the betterment of ALL of MANKIND…come join the Knowledge Seekers at the Keshe Foundation Spaceship Institute. All Degrees & Credentials are put to the wayside…everyone starts from scratch; new fundamentals will be taught that will disrupt the powers that be. No patents are allowed or NEEDED….EVER discovery is Open-Sourced to the WORLD Community, so that we may all learn from one another, as it should be! If your part of the human race you’re invited to come along and learn, bearing in mind this is for the betterment of ALL of HUMANITY throughout the WORLD…..Working toward World PEACE.

      Here’s a couple links to start the journey, experimentation and a new found freedom for ALL.

      Foundations Mains Site
      http://www.keshefoundation.org/

      Knowledge Seekers Workshops Chinese, Italian, Spanish & English (languages)
      http://livestream.com/ssiworkshops

      Keshe Foundation Peace Treaty given to ALL Governments of the World….the 21st day of every month is a day of Peace (since July this year)
      http://www.keshefoundation.org/new-horizons/peace-roadmap

      68th Knowledge Seekers Workshop….Here a simple guy, a barber from England demonstrates 500%COP (produces 5X the energy to output from the input source). This is only the beginning, yet academia & science would this is impossible.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwhOggtO1Ck

      DIY Nano-Coating (also known as Graphene) which is used in super conductors…a Diamond structure…Normally requires 600-700 degrees, radioactive materials and 10’s of Millions in operation. Here you produce in your kitchen at room temperature.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL64BQeEjEo

      Next, worried about Climate Change or Global Warming (don’t be the SUN not MAN to which controls climate) and want to remove CO2 from the air….Keshe Technology calls it CO2 Gans, a solid state of CO2 made in your kitchen at room temperature. Modern Science & academia states -105F is required to form CO2 to a solid state (Dry-Ice)….not so in this case & they’d be wrong on that point. It’s CO2 in a SOLID state at room temp…..which will be part of your energy source for the plasmatic reactors…..extrordinary times my friends….things are getting ready to CHANGE!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ1-P5t7zuQ

      Historical LIES which were meant to manipulate entire populations….in time the TRUTH COMES OUT.
      http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/oftheliars.php#axzz3jPNPXcSO

  4. Natalie B., RN Reply

    August 20, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    It is mind-blowing how every winter the CDC can count as “Influenza-related” any deaths that occur from any pneumonia that has not been proven to result from some other cause (such as following a near-drowning, or aspirating a foreign object). No laboratory confirmation of Influenza infection is required to prove an “Influenza-related” death. Smoke and mirrors and statistical sleight-of-hand gave us the still-widely-cited, though debunked “36,000 deaths from Influenza in the U.S. every year.”

    However, deaths that occur following any vaccination, even in the absence of ANY other proven cause of death, would never, ever, be allowed to be counted as “Vaccination-related” deaths.
    The CDC has a double standard for these deaths. These people appear to have died from nothing but Coincidence. I await double-blind placebo-controlled RCT’s to establish that Vaccines are the single largest cause of Coincidence in the U.S. Here’s hoping some bright young researchers can get grant money to study the impact of Coincidence on public health.

  5. Thomas A Braun RPh Reply

    August 20, 2015 at 8:17 am

    Why is it that medicine ignores the number one best defense against the flu? A STRONG immune system.
    Having a blood value of Vitamin D3 above 60 ng’s is key. I have not had the flu in 10 years and don’t get flu shots.. My blood value of Vitamin D is 75+ ng’s. I’m 80 years old and understand the best defense is a healthy body by avoiding toxins in foods and having a strong nutrient intake including Vitamin D. It’s 95% effective..not 19% effective with vaccines that introduce toxins into your body. When will we learn good medicine is being trumped by bad drug marketing!

    • Olga Reply

      August 20, 2015 at 10:20 am

      because nobody (including CDC) won’t make money on your strong immune system. They don’t want you to be healthy – that would mean they will be out of their jobs.

  6. Barb Reply

    August 20, 2015 at 8:08 am

    Last year our Dr. tried to urge me to get the flu shot & I refused. My husband received the shot & immediately following missed 4 days of work plus the weekend [suffering fever, vomiting,every single flu symptom there is]. Prior to the flu shot in 2014 he had not had the flu in over 15 years. We are both in our 60’s & I was told by my Dr. & nurse “at your age it’s dangerous not to get the flu shot”. My answer to them was “I never get the flu, so I’ll take my chances”.
    Appears that I was very right!

    • Donna Marquart Reply

      September 2, 2015 at 9:38 am

      I say to my doctors “So you have a license to practice? Does that mean you practice until you get it right?” I stopped getting the flu shot that my oncologist told me I had to get every year because my immune system was depressed. Really? So I work on keeping my immune system as functional as possible with fresh fruits and veggies and no vaccines which carry heavy metals and other junk and are not even totally effective in preventing a case of flu.

  7. Redpill1 Reply

    August 19, 2015 at 6:25 am

    In this video,(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvXIqUyOdK4) Dr. Mark Geier explains the fraud behind the flu vaccine. Dr. Geier is NOT anti-vaccine. He is an MD and has a PhD in genetics. He spent 10 years working at the National Institute of Health, and was a professor at Johns Hopkins University as a geneticist. He is also the author of over 150 peer-reviewed publications.

    He worked on vaccine safety and efficacy for more than 30 years. He was one of four scientists who worked to replace the DTP vaccine, a vaccine that caused every child to become sick with a high fever at the time of vaccination, with the DTaP vaccine, which is an attenuated vaccine and causes illness due to fever in only 3% of those vaccinated.

    In the video above, he explains that the flu shot causes Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and that the flu shot is not very effective in preventing the flu. He also explains that the CDC does not follow the law for vaccines in requiring long-term safety testing for the influenza vaccine like they do with other vaccines, as it is impossible to test a vaccine that changes every year. So the flu vaccine is basically an experimental vaccine that they want to give out to 300 million people every year. There are also no studies showing the safety of giving the flu vaccine to the same person every single year. However, Dr. Geier points out that the CDC is in the business of distributing flu vaccines, because they represent 300 million doses per year, whereas all the childhood vaccines together only number 20 million.

    Dr. Geier goes on to explain that flu is “the wrong thing to vaccinate against” because you have to keep re-vaccinating against it every year, unlike childhood infectious diseases, such as smallpox, that are only vaccinated for once. Dr. Geier points out how ridiculous it is spend billions of dollars on a vaccine that might, at its best, save about 50 lives a year, when there are far more serious problems causing death that are more worthy of that kind of expenditure.

    For those who will read this and began the Dr. Geier myths that have been going around the net one being he’s had his licensed revoked for improper activities-read this: HUGE Victory For Mark and David Geier…
    Maryland Medical Board, and the Individual Employees involved, ULTIMATELY SANCTIONED by District Court – a Total Finding For the Plaintiff. Damages Hearing to Follow: http://www.bolenreport.com/Mark%20Geier/HUGE%20Geier%20victory%20agaisnt%20maryland%20medical%20board.htm.

    • craig munson Reply

      August 20, 2015 at 9:09 am

      polio was CURED in 1949. All vaccines are unnecessary. electricity kills germs. 100% safe. 100% effective.

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