There remains much debate regarding the effectiveness of the Influenza vaccine. This Cochrane Review looked at over 90 reports containing 116 data sets; among these 69 were clinical trials of over 70,000 people, 27 were comparative cohort studies (about eight million people) and 20 were case-control studies (nearly 25,000 people) along with r 23 reports of the effectiveness and safety of vaccine administration in pregnant women (about 1.6 million mother-child couples).
‘Over 200 viruses cause influenza and ILI, producing the same symptoms (fever, headache, aches, pains, cough and runny noses).Without laboratory tests, doctors cannot distinguish between them as both last for days and rarely lead to death or serious illness. At best, vaccines may only be effective against influenza A and B, which represent about 10% of all circulating viruses. Annually, the World Health Organization estimates which viral strains should be included in the next season’s vaccinations.
This 2014 Cochrane Review evaluated the effect of immunisation with influenza vaccines on preventing influenza A or B infections (efficacy), influenza-like illness (ILI) and its consequences (effectiveness), and determined whether exposure to influenza vaccines is associated with serious or severe harms. The target populations were healthy adults, including pregnant women and newborns.
The findings identified that Influenza vaccines have a very modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost in the general population, including pregnant women. No evidence of association between influenza vaccination and serious adverse events was found in the comparative studies considered in the review. This review includes 90 studies, 24 of which (26.7%) were funded totally or partially by industry. Out of the 48 RCTs, 17 were industry-funded (35.4%). ‘