Flu shots perform inconsistently because it's hard to anticipate which strains of the virus will be circulating in a given year. So far in 2023, it appears that the latest round of vaccines are working well. The FDA has determined that Sudafed PE doesn't work. Questions and accusations are flying as a result: why were we sold a useless decongestant in the first place? And more importantly, who's to blame for this public health blunder?
Join host Cameron English, Dr. Chuck Dinerstein and Dr. Barbara Pfeffer Billauer as they break down these stories on Episode 52 of the Science Dispatch podcast:
The process of selecting viruses for the yearly flu vaccines is complex and inexact. For the 2023-2024 flu season, there is reason to be optimistic that the vaccines will provide good protection.
An FDA panel voted unanimously to withdraw the decongestant phenylephrine (PE) because it shows no benefit, something Sudafed PE users probably learned years ago. But the real story is why phenylephrine was on pharmacy shelves at all. It's all about the DEA and stupid drug policies, a story we've heard many times before.
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