Flu jabs for the elderly 'not working'

Vaccinating elderly patients against influenza does not reduce the number of hospital admissions for respiratory disease, UK research suggests.

Influenza vaccination is currently recommended for all elderly people aged 65 and over in the UK.

For this latest study, the researchers assessed the effect of routine influenza vaccine in preventing emergency respiratory admissions among a cohort of 3,970 people, aged 65-89, presenting with acute respiratory illness during the winter 2003-04.

Despite adjusting for age, sex, other chronic conditions and smoking status, the influenza vaccine was still found to have no effect on reducing hospital admissions for respiratory disease.

The researchers warn, however, that the findings do not negate the need for influenza vaccine.

Instead, the findings suggest that solely relying on the influenza vaccine is not an effective strategy for reducing annual winter bed pressures in hospitals.

Earlier this month US research published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that vaccinating the elderly against flu could almost halve the risk of death.

Influenza vaccination was found to reduce the risk of death by 48 per cent and cut the risk of hospitalisation for pneumonia or influenza by 27 per cent.


Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Clinical trials: Microscope in a lab

GPs could be incentivised to recruit patients onto commercial clinical trials

GPs could be offered incentives to recruit patients onto commercial clinical trials...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: How many GPs do we need for safe general practice, pay restoration, the state of premises

Talking General Practice looks at safe working limits and the number of GPs we need...

Stethoscope and a computer

EMIS to keep panic button after outcry from GPs

EMIS, one of the main GP IT system providers, has backtracked on plans to phase out...

Health minister Lord Markham

Health minister Lord Markham: How we will support GPs to offer patients greater choice

Health minister Lord Markham explains what the government's plans for using the NHS...

Patient receives the flu vaccine

Flu vaccination campaign to return to pre-pandemic cohorts this year

This year's flu vaccination campaign is set to be reduced after it was expanded during...

Plant-based diet

Vegan and vegetarian diets can play key role in reducing cardiovascular risk, study finds

Plant-based diets can play a significant role in lowering the risk of stroke and...