"The article I posted originated from The Lancet, about as mainstream as you can get. Are you saying that The Lancet is a bunch of spin doctors?"
The article you posted is a misleading summary posted by the "Healthy News Service", part of a fringe website devoted to various scare stories and medical misinformation.
The actual 10/07 Lancet article suggests that the benefits of flu vaccine are more modest than scientists have believed, but it certainly doesn't say that flu vaccine fails to protect the elderly. In fact, the study's authors support continued vaccination of the elderly while more data from placebo-controlled trials is gathered. They also note that the best study available to date showed a 57% reduction in confirmed flu cases among those who received the flu vaccine.
This is something the "Healthy News Service" failed to mention.
"The article you quoted is NOT from the Lancet, it is from a second study that also came out this month from the NEJM."
Check again. It's from another Lancet article by some of the same authors, with similar conclusions.
"I think it is mainstream medicine who needs to get their two studies together and put a pretty pro-vaccine spin on the issue...Regardless of the study or who funded it or what their purposes are, it has to chaff the apologists mightily when mainstream medicine itself cannot agree on vaccines."
No, actually disagreement on this issue is part of the healthy debate that occurs in the scientific community and which promotes better research and understanding of disease. Where you'll find dead certainty and extreme resistance to changing one's views is among nonscientific ideologues who have an agenda that must be adhered to at all costs.
The just-published New England Journal of Medicine article referred to earlier
is highly supportive of the benefits of the flu vaccine. Some excerpts:
"Ten years of data from three regions of the United States show that the vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization from pneumonia or the flu by 27 percent in the elderly, and cuts the death rate in half.
The elderly make up the bulk of the 36,000 people who die from flu each year in the United States..."What we do show, definitely, is that there is a substantial benefit," said Kristin Nichol of the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, leader of the team.
They found that the benefits of the vaccine varied from community to community and from year to year, depending on whether the shots were designed to combat the flu strains that occurred.
"In seasons with a poor match, vaccine effectiveness was 37 percent; in seasons with a good match, vaccine effectiveness was 52 percent" in reducing death, the researchers wrote in their report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Overall, data from more than 70,000 people per season showed that the injections are effective.
Nonetheless, only about 65 percent of people over 64 get a flu shot each year, in part because health-care providers often fail to recommend them, Nichol said."
The lack of more complete vaccine coverage is probably due in part to false information and scaremongering among antivaccine advocates.
It's puzzling to me - the stated purpose of this website is "Educating instead of Medicating". vaccination fulfills this purpose well. Instead of having people taking drugs or handfuls of supplements to combat preventable infectious diseases, a simple shot can keep them healthy and off all medications. Of course this may not be optimal for the profits of the pharmaceutical and supplement industries, as it's more profitable to sell people pills than to prevent them from getting sick through vaccination.
But _we_ should know better.
Oh, and by the way - an author of the new Lancet study claiming a more modest role for the flu vaccine (the one you triumphantly cite), has disclosed financial connections to Big Pharma (receiving consultancy fees from the pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Synthelabo and the Roche Corporation). In downplaying the usefulness of the flu vaccine, you're taking the word of a researcher who's funded by Big Pharma? Very strange. :)