A New Flu Vaccine Approved: Oy Veh!

The FDA has approved a new flu vaccine—Fluad.  Should we say, “hooray,” or “oy veh”.  I will let you decide.

Fluad is the first seasonal influenza vaccine containing an adjuvant called squalene.  Adjuvants in vaccines, such as aluminum, are used to cause a greater immune system response as compared to vaccines used without an adjuvant.  This increased immune system response is hypothesized to result in an enhanced efficacy of the vaccine–in other words, it should make the vaccine more effective.  Therefore, you would think that a flu vaccine with an adjuvant such as squalene would result in a more robust antibody response when it is compared to the regular flu vaccine that is adjuvant-free.

Well, in the case of Fluad, you would think wrong.

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“Fluad was evaluated in a multicenter clinical trial conducted in the United States and internationally that compared the safety and immunogenicity (ability to generate an antibody response) of Fluad to Agriflu, an FDA-approved unadjuvanted trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine, in individuals 65 years of age and older. In that trial, 7,082 participants received either Fluad or Agriflu. The study showed that Fluad induced antibody levels that were comparable to the levels induced by Agriflu.”

I would like to ask the FDA a question.  If the results are comparable, then why do we need to spend money on a new flu vaccine?

Fluad is currently being promoted for the elderly.  From the FDA’s website (see reference 1), they state, “Fluad provides another alternative for a safe and effective influenza vaccine in people 65 years of age and older. Immunizing individuals in this age group is especially important because they bear the greatest burden of severe influenza disease and account for the majority of influenza-related hospitalizations and deaths.”

I have written to you about the failure of the flu vaccine many times, both in blog posts and in my newsletter (http://brownsteinhealth.com/).  Folks, there is not a single good study that shows the flu vaccine prevents the elderly from getting the flu nor does it prevent the elderly from getting complications from the flu.

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