Flu vaccines decrease deaths and hospitalizations of nursing home residents
The results are best when the flu vaccine strains are an ideal match to the main strains in the current seasonal flu. When there was a 75 percent match between the strains in the vaccine, the residents showed a 2 percent decrease in deaths. In this case, the matching strains were for A/H3N2, the influenza strain that typically causes the worst symptoms in patients.
There was another 4.2 percent decrease in influenza and pneumonia hospitalizations when compared to a year with a vaccine that had a low match of 25 percent to the seasonal flu.
"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," Dr. Vincent Mor, lead author of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study, said.
Health professionals maintain that having up-to-date vaccinations and immunizations effectively protects people from contracting illnesses, like influenza. Other vaccines are designed to protect people against other illnesses, like measles, mumps and rubella.