Flu Vaccines About 60% Effective, Study Says

If you want to start the hell out of a fight pretty much anywhere in America- the internet, a dinner party or on line at the grocery store- state a strong opinion about vaccines.

While research almost always points to vaccinating over not vaccinating and the world would be a markedly different (and far less populated) place without their invention, many parents fear side effects from the injections in newborns and small children. Now fully discredited research that linked certain common childhood shots to autism gained some traction before it was debunked, and the public association of the jabs and the mysterious condition has been incredibly difficult for the medical community to decouple. Debates rage across the country as to whether parents who opt to not vaccinate or delay vaccination should be sanctioned, punished or otherwise face restrictions to force them to bolster herd immunity by vaccinating their kids.

Those debates are only likely to intensify with news that the most commonly used flu vaccine is about 60% effective in preventing flu. The trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV) is used for about 90% of all flu inoculations in the US, and the CDC has acknowledged the findings. Dr. Joseph Bresee, epidemiology and prevention chief at the influenza division of the CDC, has urged Americans not to let the numbers dissuade them from getting a yearly flu shot. Bresee says:

"The findings are not that unexpected, but flu vaccines do work. They don't work as well as we'd like them to work all the time, [but] flu is a bad disease. It can cause death and hospitalization, and the flu vaccine is absolutely the best tool to prevent that. While we all want them to be better, they're still the best thing we have."

Bresee says the study highlights "the need for better flu vaccines."