- The gist of this article
Seventy-one (71) healthy adults need to be vaccinated to prevent one (1) of them experiencing influenza. Twenty-nine (29) healthy adults need to be vaccinated to prevent one (1) of the experiencing an influenza-like-illness. This is why so many vaccinated people still get the flu or a flu-like illnesses. By the strict scientific standards applied in assessing the credibility of claims concerning the health benefits of foods, making a “health claim” for anti-flu vaccines would be rejected off the cuff by the competent European authorities.
Modest impact and little effect of flu-vaccines on workdays lost
This year (2018), the most prestigeous scientific organization in the world, the Cochrane Institute, published an updated Review of the efficacy of influenza-vaccines by assessing 52 clinical trials including over 80,000 adults. The aim of this Review was to summarise research that looked at the effects of immunising healthy adults with influenza vaccines during influenza seasons. [i]
The Cochrane team of researchers concluded:
* Injected influenza vaccines probably have a small protective effect against influenza and influenze-like-illness. Such inactivated vaccines can reduce the proportion of healthy adults, including pregnant women, who have influenza and influenza-like-illnesses, but their impact is modest.
* Vaccination may have little or no appreciable effect on flu-related hospitalisations or number of working days lost.
* The researchers were uncertain of the protection provided to pregnant women against influenza and influenza-like-illnesses by the inactivated influenza vaccine, or this was at least very limited.
Influenza, influenza-like-illness and vaccination
What you must know about influenza and vaccines:
* Over 200 viruses cause influenza-like-illness (ILI), which produces the same symptoms (fever, headache, aches, pains, cough, high temperature, muscle pain and runny nose) as influenza.
* Without laboratory tests, doctors cannot distinguish between ILI and influenza because both last for days and rarely cause serious illness or death.
* The types of virus contained in seasonal anti-flu vaccines are usually those that are expected to circulate in the following influenza seasons, according to recommendations of the World Health Organization. Which means that vaccines may very well miss “this season’s” viruses.
* Which is why 71 healthy adults need to be vaccinated to prevent 1 of them experiencing influenza, while 29 healthy adults need to be vaccinated to prevent one 1 of the experiencing an influenza-like-illness.
* The Cochrane team qualifies the effects of vaccines as “modest.” Well, if 1 in 71 vaccinations is effective in preventing influenza and if 1 in 29 vaccinations is effective in preventing an influenza-like-illness, I’d say that anti-flu vaccines are unhelpful and inefficient for most people.
Cause and effect relationship in Health Claims
In the European Union, food law says that a “health claim” concerning the relationship between a food or food products and a health benefit must be supported by scientific evidence that shows a cause and effect relationship between the food and the specific health benefit. Health claims are assessed by the European Food Safety Authority, the EFSA. Quoting from EFSA’s official Guidance for applicants seeking to get approval of a health claim, EFSA declares that “[i]n assessing each specific food/health relationship which forms the basis of a claim, [EFSA] makes a scientific judgement on the extent to which a cause and effect is established between the consumption of the food/constituent and the claimed effect (i.e. for the target group under the proposed conditions of use) by considering the strength, consistency, specificity, dose–response, biological plausibility of the relationship and by weighing the totality of the evidence. A grade is not assigned to the evidence.” [ii]
A claim for vaccines would never be approved
That EFSA does not assign a grade to the evidence means that the outcome of the scientific research must not just show the probability (the food will probably produce the benefit) or possibility (the food might possibly produce the benefit) of the claimed effect. No, no ! The evidence must be convincing. Convincing meaning that the evidence is sufficient for a claiming a positive outcome. The benefit must be produced by the food or food-component in the vast majority of the people taking it. Regarding the plausibility of the relationship between the vaccine and and influenza, at best this would have to be graded as slightly possible.
EFSA would flatly reject a “health claim” for influenza vaccines
How do you think a health claim application would fare at EFSA if the totality of the evidence (in the case of anti-influenza vaccines: 52 clinical trials including over 80,000 adults) showed that a food component would produce a benefit in only 1 out of 71 consumers ? My advice to the applicant would be: don’t take the trouble of filling in your application. Meaning that the 1-in-71 evidence would be highly insufficient for EFSA. It wouldn’t even look at it.
Compare this to the efficacy of Masquelier’s OPCs
As shown in my book OPCs, Dr. Jack Masquelier’s Mark on Health and elsewhere on this website, the human studies performed with Masquelier’s OPCs in the field of vascular and circulatory health were well designed and the majority of them were controlled studies. The effect of these OPCs on the health of the most critical part of the circulatory system, the tiny and fragile capillaries or hair-vessels, was studied in thousands of people using a wide range of approved and scientifically validated measurements to verify the outcomes. The beneficial effects described were observed only in the test groups and not in the control-groups who received an inert placebo. The studies consistently showed that consumption of Masquelier’s OPCs consistently and across studies resulted in the maintenance of the health of the capillaries and microcirculation.
Recommended dosages and microvascular benefits
The results from the clinical human studies indicate an unequivocal cause and effect relationship between Masquelier’s OPCs and all sorts of vascular benefits, primarily observed as healthy circulation of the blood. The benefits were produced in various study-groups, who supplemented their daily diet with 100-300 mg/day for periods ranging from 1 to 3 months.
When you consider that vascular function is controlled by numerous factors such as the levels of circulating lipoproteins, inflammatory mediators, endogenous antioxidant systems, or the thrombotic vascular environment, you will understand why the effect of Masquelier’s OPCs was tested on several of these processes in varying dosages. Similarly, it is also understandable that an effective foodstuff such as OPCs would affect vascular health at various levels and that it would act on a multitude of regulating pathways rather than specifically targeting only one pathway. The results of all these studies demonstrate the capability of Masquelier’s OPCs to contribute to the healthy dynamics and maintenance of the microvascular system.
[i] Cochrane - Review - Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults. Vittorio Demicheli, Tom Jefferson, Eliana Ferroni, Alessandro Rivetti, Carlo Di Pietrantonj; 2018.
[ii] EFSA - Scientific Opinion - 18 January 2016 - Scientific guidance for stakeholders on health claim applications.