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Influenza jab may be waste of money

The Institute of Public Health says healthy adults should not be given the flu jab.

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Large sums of money are spent each year on vaccinating younger, healthy people with the flu vaccine - but according to a new report, vaccinating healthy adults has little effect in preventing flu.

A team of researchers from the Public Health Institute at Aarhus University has studied all available international literature on the subject without finding any evidence to show that the flu jab has a health promoting effect.

“The overall conclusion is that at best, the effect is minor,” says Louise Ørnskov Pedersen who headed the survey, which has been published in the Danish medical journal.

Ørnskov Pedersen says that the funds that companies use to provide vaccines for their staff could better be used to improve in-house hygiene and climate.

Chief Physician Steffen Thirtstrup who heads the medicines licence department of the National Health Board Medicines Agency, says the findings are important.

“There are a lot of people who have every reason to be vaccinated. But the benefits for healthy adults are very minor. That is something both employees, and the employers who are willing to pay, should realise,” Thirstrup says.

He adds that the statement on the National Health Board’s website saying that “vaccination protects most people” does not mean that you do not get influenza by being vaccinated.

“The vaccine protects most people against the virus that they have been vaccinated with. The problem is that there are years when the vaccine that is used is not the same as the virus that is circulating,” he says.

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