Will the flu vaccine (at least) reduce symptoms for one of the deadliest strains on record?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is faced with a tough sell these days. Every year they take on the task of promoting the flu shot, which was found to be widely ineffective last year.

And this year? I don’t have to tell you… The flu is big and bad this winter, with every indication that the vaccine is not doing much at all to prevent it.

Even so, the CDC says that as long as reports of flu activity continue, people who have not been vaccinated should take the opportunity to get the shot.

As I said before, that’s a tough sell. So even though this year’s flu vaccine is hardly effective, the CDC believes the next best course of action is to try and convince us to get it still. They claim the shot will lessen the severity of symptoms and reduce risk of hospitalization if you do contract the flu.

Here’s how the CDC phrases this recommendation on their website: “There is some data to suggest that flu vaccination may reduce flu illness severity; so while someone who is vaccinated may still get infected, their illness may be milder.”

Some data to suggest? If that seems like a long shot to you, you’re right.

That’s because data from a 2017 French study strongly suggests that it’s pure horse feathers.

Between 2003 and 2014, researchers observed nearly 2,300 seniors, specifically tracing symptom severity among those who came down with the flu. A little over half of the group got the flu shot.

The results showed that there was only one benefit that could be marked as “significant.” Those who got the shot had fewer headaches.

That’s it. The only lessened symptom. That’s the CDC’s idea of a “milder” illness.

In the journal Vaccine, the study authors wrote: “Our results are consistent with previous studies reporting limited or no efficacy of the influenza vaccine in reducing illness severity at onset of symptoms.”

So even though it’s not too late to get a flu shot (according to the CDC), the evidence that it will do one bit of good is, let’s say, not so strong.

If you’ve made it this far through a tough flu season without coming down with the flu, then keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s obviously more effective.

For good measure, you might want to read up on this proven powerful flu fighter — one that you might not have heard about!

And even though it’s late in the season for the flu shot, it’s always the right time to practice hygiene habits we KNOW are effective against the flu and other illnesses. For example:

  • washing hands frequently,
  • getting sufficient sleep (7 – 9 hours per night),
  • exercising,
  • taking a vitamin D3 supplement (preferably 10,000 IU daily),
  • avoiding junk foods and sugar.

So don’t fall for the hype when it comes to the flu vaccine — it’s all about meeting a sales quota, not keeping you healthy. Instead, take care of yourself from the inside-out with successful, science-backed techniques and good daily habits.



Vaccine Effectiveness – How Well Does the Flu Vaccine Work?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
October 3, 2017

Does seasonal vaccination affect the clinical presentation of influenza among the elderly? A cross-sectional analysis in the outpatient setting in France, 2003-2014.
April 2017


Will The Influenza Vaccine Protect You from Flu’s Complications?
People’s Pharmacy
January 18, 2018