Question: The newspaper article Spray Away Flu Omaha World Herald June 8

The newspaper article “Spray Away Flu” (Omaha World-Herald, June 8, 1998) reported on a study of the effectiveness of a new flu vaccine that is administered by nasal spray rather than by injection. The article states that the “researchers gave the spray to 1070 healthy children, 15 months to 6 years old, before the flu season two winters ago. One percent developed confirmed influenza, compared with 18% of the 532 children who received a placebo. And only one vaccinated child developed an ear infection after coming down with influenza. Typically 30% to 40% of children with influenza later develop an ear infection.” The researchers concluded that the nasal flu vaccine was effective in reducing the incidence of flu and also in reducing the number of children with flu who subsequently develop ear infections.
a. What were the researchers trying to learn? What questions motivated their research?
b. Do you think that the study was conducted in a reasonable way? What additional information would you want in order to evaluate this study?

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