Influenza vaccination in the elderly: effectiveness not in doubt

E Hak, W Opstelten, I Looijmans-van den Akker, J A Knottnerus

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    Abstract

    In a recent review the effectiveness of influenza vaccination in the elderly was brought into question. Selection bias, which would occurr if healthy people were more likely to be vaccinated than their infirm peers, and the use of non-specific outcomes, such as death from all causes, were considered to have contributed to the effectiveness of the vaccine as to morbidity and mortality being overestimated. However, a recent study has shown that even when potential bias and residual confounding were addressed, influenza vaccination was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of influenza-related morbidity and mortality among community-dwelling elderly persons. Direct estimates of influenza-related morbidity were hampered by delayed and insufficiently sensitive diagnostics. Excess studies, however, comparing morbidity and mortality during periods with and without influenza predominance, present reliable indirect estimates in favour of vaccination. While the vaccination rate of high-risk subjects in The Netherlands is traditionally high, the age limit for influenza vaccination was lowered from 65 to 60 in 2008, taking into account influenza-related morbidity and mortality in healthy people aged 60 to 65 years and the undisputed effectiveness of vaccination against influenza.

    Translated title of the contributionInfluenza vaccination in the elderly: effectiveness not in doubt
    Original languageDutch
    Pages (from-to)1081-1083
    Number of pages3
    JournalNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
    Volume152
    Issue number19
    Publication statusPublished - 10-May-2008

    Keywords

    • Aged
    • Aging
    • Cause of Death
    • Female
    • Humans
    • Influenza Vaccines
    • Influenza, Human
    • Male
    • Middle Aged
    • Selection Bias

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