Flu vaccines prove sensible for elderly
The study involved records taken from millions of residents at nursing homes. The scientists from Brown University used these records from between 2000 and 2009 to show that the vaccines that were better matches for the flu strains correlated with fewer nursing home residents dying or hospitalized for influenza.
Even though influenza vaccines are part of the standard of care as well as a measure of quality for nursing homes, many public health experts continue to question whether vaccines benefit anyone. Clinical trials that deny vaccines for a control group are considered unethical, while observational studies of people with vaccines and without vaccines may be biased.
This latest research shows a new approach that infectious disease experts used to determine whether vaccination truly helps people avoid contracting influenza.
"This study evidences protection for an elderly population for whom vaccine efficacy has been questioned," Dr. Stefan Gravenstein, co-author of the study and adjunct professor of medicine and health services, policy and practice, said. "Annual vaccination is the only way to maximize the benefit of vaccine, no matter what the age."
Further details are available in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.