22 September 2005

The Flu

Not that I have it (or usually get it, being young and in good shape). However, this article in the New York Times today points out that vaccines are "apparently ineffective" in preventing the flu for elderly people:
The fact that the vaccine study showed that inoculations have had only a modest effect in the elderly is particularly worrisome, because this is a group that tends to suffer high rates of complications and deaths from the disease and vaccination is the standard practice. In people over 65, the vaccines "are apparently ineffective" in the prevention of influenza, pneumonia and hospital admissions, although they did reduce deaths from pneumonia a bit, by "up to 30 percent," the study says.

"What you see is that marketing rules the response to influenza, and scientific evidence comes fourth or fifth," Dr. Jefferson said. "Vaccines may have a role, but they appear to have a modest effect. The best strategy to prevent the illness is to wash your hands."

Being young, I would like to see mention of the effectiveness of the vaccine in younger people (i.e. whether it's worth it for me to get one).

On a related note, how do people who don't believe in evolution at all (i.e. something made the world exactly as it is now) cope with the idea of viruses sharing genetic material and becoming resistant?

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