Senior Health

Flu Vaccine Reduces Deaths Among Nursing Home Residents

When the influenza vaccine is well matched to the prevailing strains of flu in a given season, patients in nursing homes are significantly less likely to be hospitalized or to die of pneumonia and other influenza related causes. The finding comes from a study of more than 1 million Medicare fee-for-service long-stay nursing home residents. The paper was published in September 2015 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

A release from the publisher notes that when the vaccine’s match with A/H3N2–the influenza strain typically responsible for severe symptoms–was excellent (75%) during an A/H3N2 predominant season, there was an estimated 2.0% reduction in deaths and a 4.2% reduction in pneumonia and influenza hospitalizations compared with a year with a poor match (25%).

The release quotes lead author Dr. Vincent Mor as saying, “This translates into approximately 2,560 lives saved and more than 3,200 hospitalizations prevented annually for long-stay nursing home residents in the United States.”

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