Questions About the Validity of Influenza Vaccine Research Suggest What You See is Not What You Get

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The recommendations to be vaccinated for Influenza are at first sight straight forward, individuals at risk of severe complications from the virus are recommended to prime their adaptive immune system to be better equipped to meet the influenza challenge. A small but growing body of evidence suggests that the materials used to support this proposal may be flawed and that industry promoted research papers may be instrumental in suggesting that the benefits to human health are not as significant as the commonly supported model suggests.

The conclusion in the following article is that publication in prestigious journals is associated with partial or total industry funding, and this association is not explained by study quality or size. Given our findings of lack of concordance in primary studies, the content of current policy might reflect the gap between results and conclusions—that is, synthesis of evidence for policy making might be carried out at two independent levels: that of results and that of conclusions. In most cases, what you see is not necessarily what you get.

Jefferson T, Di Pietrantonj C, Debalini MG, Rivetti A, Demicheli V. Relation of study quality, concordance, take home message, funding, and impact in studies of influenza vaccines: systematic review. BMJ. 2009 Feb 12;338:b354. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b354. View Abstract View Full Paper

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