Although national and international health organizations urge anyone over age 65 to get yearly flu shots, the vaccinations are only modestly effective in preventing flu and its complications among older adults, according to a new review of recent studies. //
Similarly, there is a little evidence that vaccinating healthcare workers protects their elderly patients from flu complications, another study found.
The reviews appear in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.
In their review of 71 studies, Dr. Daniela Rivetti of the public health department of Asti, Italy ,and colleagues found that flu shots prevented 45 percent of flu-like illnesses, hospital admissions and flu-related deaths among nursing home and long-term care patients. Flu vaccinations prevented only 25 percent of these outcomes in older adults still living in the community.
The findings would seem to fly in the face of recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others who have made regular flu vaccinations among older adults a centerpiece of good public health.
The current recommendations are based in part on tallies of deaths from all causes, in which people who have been vaccinated are among those least likely to die in a given year. However, those who are most likely to get vaccinated are also those most likely to have higher incomes and better health care.
This may mean that the apparent benefits of vaccination could just be a reflection of better health among those who get the shots, Rivetti and colleagues suggest.
Research that focuses on vaccination’s effects on all causes of death rather than just flu illnesses “are likePage: 1 2 3 Related medicine news :1
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