“The most commonly used flu shots protect no more than 60% of people who receive them; some years, effectiveness plunges to as low as 10%. Given that a bad flu season can kill 50,000 people in the United States alone, “10% to 60% protection is better than nothing,” says Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “But it’s a terribly inadequate vaccine for a serious public health threat.” Now, researchers are striving to understand why it fails so often — and how to make a markedly better one.”

Major manufacturers of the vaccine only have 6–8 months lead times. The current stock is always based on last year’s strain. With the assumption that there are only minor changes. The minor antigenic drift. But it is never identical. In the best of years, the vaccination is 40–60% effective. Or contrariwise, 40–60% ineffective.

This year, CDC experts are admitting it will only be 10% effective. 90% ineffective or not worth the bother.

A most interesting conundrum. If anti-viral prophylaxis is not indicated for healthy individuals then why is the flu vaccine indicated for everyone? And the debate continues. While there is policy decision-making consensus on flu vaccination, the debate as to the appropriateness of anti-virals continues. I argue here that anti-viral treatment is far more effective per case than vaccination.

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