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Article posted Mar 17 2010, 5:43 PM Category: Brave New World Source: National Post Print

Flu shots futile: study

Tom Blackwell

A new Canadian-led study has added to a simmering scientific dispute over flu-shot campaigns, concluding that immunizing nursing-home workers does nothing to cut the number of confirmed influenza cases among the homes’ elderly residents.

Coming at the end of the largest flu-vaccination campaign in Canadian history, the review of previous studies calls for stepped-up research into alternative, lower-tech ways to combat the virus, such as improved hand washing.

“What troubled us is that [shots] had no effect on laboratory-confirmed influenza,” said Dr. Roger Thomas of the University of Calgary, lead author of the paper published by the respected Cochrane Library.

“What we were looking for is proof that influenza … is decreased. Didn’t find it. We looked for proof that pneumonia is reduced. Didn’t find it. We looked for proof deaths from pneumonia are reduced. Didn’t find it.”

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