Flu vaccine does not reduce number of elderly people admitted to hospital with respiratory disease

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 11 October 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:743
  1. Roger Dobson
  1. Abergavenny

    Relying on the influenza vaccine to control pressure on UK hospitals each winter is unlikely to work, a new report concludes.

    The researchers found no evidence that the vaccine lowers the risk of admission to hospital in winter among elderly patients with acute respiratory disease (Vaccine doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2007.09.005).

    They wrote, “In a winter typical of levels of circulating influenza in recent years, influenza vaccine did not show a protective effect on emergency respiratory admissions overall (adjusted odds ratio 1.2 (95% confidence interval 0.8 to 1.9)).”

    The authors, from the University of Birmingham, the Health Protection Agency, and other centres, added, “Policy makers should not rely solely on influenza vaccine routinely having a large effect on winter pressures, and should focus on additional preventive strategies.”

    The report says that the effect of vaccination on the number of people with respiratory illness …

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