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April/May 2009 (vol. 05/6)

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Research Plus

Influenza vaccine effectiveness research

Research papers concluding in favour of influenza vaccination are more likely to be of lower methodological quality than those casting doubt on their effectiveness. A systematic review on the effectiveness of influenza vaccine identified 259 papers, mostly on healthy populations. Notably, while 70% of the papers concluded in favour of vaccine use, only 18% had complete agreement between the reported data and the authors’ conclusions. Methodological quality was strongly associated with concordance between data and conclusions – in other words, the higher the quality of the study the lower the risk of bias. Industry-funded studies were more likely to conclude vaccine effectiveness and more likely to be published in high-impact journals despite being of similar study quality and size to government-funded studies.

British Medical Journal 2009; 338: b354, doi:10.1136/bmj.b354 http://www.bmj.com/content/338/bmj.b354.abstract

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Occupational Health at Work April/May 2009 (vol. 05/6) pp44