Is This Vaccine Effective?

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that a particular vaccine for child ear infections is safe and effective. An article related to the study was published on Yahoo News in an effort to presumably increase awareness of the vaccine and of the study.

If an individual was to quickly browse through the article they may be led to believe that the vaccine in question is quite effective, let’s take a look at some of the data.

The headline reads “Vaccine Shields Kids from Some Ear Infections.” Note the word “some” as it was used several times in the article. The very first sentence states that “a new vaccine protects children from some, but not all, ear infections, according to results of a Finnish study.” That is the first sentence and that is the best news that they have regarding the study.

The very next sentence states that “researchers estimate that the vaccine could prevent 1.2 million of the 20 million middle ear infections that occur in U.S. children every year.” Those are big numbers and I wonder how many would read that and say “wow, that’s pretty good.” Note that in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study stated that the infections could “theoretically be prevented if the vaccine were widely used.” The term “theoretically” was nonexistent in the news article.

After stating their numbers, the article follows the typical formula of reminding us how dangerous the condition of otitis media can be. In the second to last paragraph of the article we begin to get to the real news. It is stated that “a number of bacteria and viruses can cause ear infections, and the vaccine was unable to guard children from them all. However, the shot reduced overall ear infections by 6%.”

Six percent. That’s the number to look at. Would the following headline not be truthful, “Otitis media vaccine found to be six percent effective.” How about this one, “Vaccine found to be effective in six out of every 100 cases.”

Six percent of 20 million is 1.2 million, that sounds far better than 6 out of every 100 cases. Can you imagine anyone trying to market a product that was six percent effective?

If we look into the report and the article further, we see that the study involved 1662 babies. During the time of the study, 2596 cases of otitis media were reported among those in the study. In other words there was an average of 1.56 cases of otitis media reported for every child involved in the study. And don’t forget, these children were vaccinated.

We will soon see advertising from the company that created this vaccine stating that it is a safe and effective prevention to otitis media. That will be one more vaccine added to the pile.

Do I need to remind you that all, not some, children should be under regular chiropractic care?

Yahoo News: Vaccine Shields Kids From Some Ear Infections
NEJM: The New England Journal of Medicine @ 10:18 am | Article ID: 981656310