Does Influenza Vaccination Actually Reduce or Prevent the Flu in Older Adults?
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:
Casado et al. (Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2018) sought to determine whether influenza vaccinations truly prevent admissions to hospitals for influenza and/or reduce severity of the flu
Community-dwelling adults aged ≥65 years, admitted to hospital with lab confirmed flu
Patients were matched with inpatient controls by sex, age, hospital and admission date
The effectiveness of vaccination in the current and 3 previous seasons in preventing influenza was estimated for inpatients with nonsevere influenza and for those with severe influenza who were admitted to ICUs or who died
Patients were matched with controls
130 inpatients with severe influenza were matched with 333 controls
598 patients with nonsevere influenza were matched with 1493 controls
Compared with patients who were unvaccinated, adjusted effectiveness of influenza vaccination in the current and any previous season was
31% (95% CI 13%–46%) in preventing admission for nonsevere influenza
74% (95% CI 42%–88%) in preventing admissions to the ICU
70% (95% CI 34%–87%) in preventing death
Vaccination in the current season did not impact severe influenza
Among inpatients with influenza, vaccination in the current and any previous season reduced the risk of severe outcomes (adjusted odds ratio 0.45, 95% CI 0.26–0.76)
Older adults who followed the recommended annual flu vaccine schedule were less likely to be hospitalized with severe influenza compared to nonsevere
Research is still needed to understand the effectiveness of influenza vaccination on severe and fatal influenza
Results did not vary with the influenza season, virus subtype or patient age
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