After weeks of brooding about the Donahue article linking flu shots to miscarriages (Vaccine 2017;35:5314) it was with a sense of relief that I read Rob Wipond’s narrative of media attempts to sweep a serious vaccine safety issue under the rug….He points out the hypocrisy (his words were “double standard”) of authorities who dismissed the Donahue paper because it was an “observational study.” Year after year they have quoted observational studies to announce, “…80% vaccine effectiveness…60% effectiveness…40% effectiveness…” They do not mention that these studies make no effort to look for adverse vaccine effects (e.g. narcolepsy, seizures, high fever, oculorespiratory syndrome). They do not mention “negative vaccine effectiveness”, the increase in risk of illness from influenza and non-influenza viruses associated with (or caused by) the vaccines. (Cowling, Clin Inf Dis 2012;54:1778) They do not mention that a vaccine “effective” in one season may increase influenza risk in a subsequent season. (Read about “antibody-dependent enhancement” to understand one explanatory mechanism). They do not mention that the observational studies they refer to are likely to exaggerate vaccine effectiveness in the first place because of the “healthy user effect” well known to epidemiologists.

Allan S. Cunningham
Retired paediatrician
Cooperstown NY 13326, USA
9 January 2018.
Source: BMJ 2018;360:k15

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