Oh Canada. Look over here. Not there. Not at the press release. Look here. A real study. Published. With methodologies you can evaluate. Something you can sink your teeth into to help guide policy decisions.  You know, published epidemiology.  Science.

Its called  “Partial protection of seasonal trivalent inactivated vaccine against novel pandemic influenza A/H1N1 2009: case-control study in Mexico City.” and published on line in the BMJ on October 6th.

Are you aware of….Oh, Canada, pay attention, your eyes are wandering.

Are you aware of this study since you have been so wiggins about the risk of the seasonal flu vaccine increasing the risk of H1N1.

I know it is not a Canadian study, its from Mexico, and maybe the US border patrol has kept the information from coming north. Unlikely based on past efforts, but a possible excuse.  It is an interesting study. They compared 60 hospitalized cases of H1N1 with 180 controls without H1N1.  Those with H1N1 had more underlying medical problems than than controls.

When looking at the cases of influenza and comparing those that had had seasonal flu vaccine to those who didn’t they found

“The proportion of patients who died among vaccinated cases was significantly lower than among unvaccinated cases (0/8 (0%) v 18/52 (35%), P=0.047). The proportion of patients requiring invasive mechanical ventilation was also lower among vaccinated cases not significant (1/8 (13%) v 25/52 (48%),P=0.058).”

“When the association of influenza A/H1N1 with vaccine status for each age group was modelled, the adjusted odds ratio continued to show a protective effect, although this was statistically significant only for the age group 41-60 (table 3). Vaccine effectiveness against laboratory confirmed cases of influenza A/H1N1 was 73% (95% confidence interval 34% to 89%).”

So while on the basis of panic inducing press releases people are lead to believe that the seasonal vaccine increases the risk of H1N1, this was not supported in this retrospective clinical trial. Of course…. Oh Canada, please pay attention. Of course

” these results are to be considered cautiously and in no way indicate that seasonal vaccine should replace vaccination against pandemic influenza A/H1N1 . Our data support the hypothesis that partial protection provided by the seasonal vaccine may be explained by the boosting of existing antibodies that were elicited by previous exposure, through either infection or vaccination, to an influenza A/H1N1 virus genetically and antigenically more closely related to the novel influenza virus than contemporary seasonal H1N1 strain.”

All studies have their limitations, and this one is retrospective and has a small sample size.

I am sure there was a great sigh of relief up North and these finding, 10 days old as I write this entry, was trumpeted all over the media. The Ministers of Health, the newspapers, the blogs would be all over this finding like a hemagglutinin on a monosaccharide sialic acid. Shout it from the rooftops, raise your Molson high: Seasonal flu vaccine may be protective from dying for H1N1.

So I use the googles and find, well, nothin’.  Maybe I am using the wrong search terms. But from the Canadian newspapers, blogs and government, which made a big ruckus and a hullabaloo over the prior study, nuthin’.  Even the Natural News is silent on the research.   Our Canadian readers can comment, and I hope they do, but there seems to be no reporting on this important finding in the Canadian press.  Maybe because the blogs, newspapers and Ministers of Health will look like easily spooked jackasses? Or jacksass? Cause they do.

Oh Canada. You are still not paying attention.

Cold fusion.

Damn. I didn’t want to mention that.


Posted by Mark Crislip

Mark Crislip, MD has been a practicing Infectious Disease specialist in Portland, Oregon, since 1990. He is a founder and  the President of the Society for Science-Based Medicine where he blogs under the name sbmsdictator. He has been voted a US News and World Report best US doctor, best ID doctor in Portland Magazine multiple times, has multiple teaching awards and, most importantly,  the ‘Attending Most Likely To Tell It Like It Is’ by the medical residents at his hospital. His growing multi-media empire can be found at