Flu Vaccine Could Help Prevent Pneumonia

October 16th 2015
Contemporary Clinic Editorial Staff
Contemporary Clinic Editorial Staff

Data from a recent study suggest that the influenza vaccine decreases the incidence of hospitalization with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among all people ≥6 months of age, flu vaccination coverage during the 2013—14 flu season was46.2%.Although, this coverage was higher than the previous flu season by 1.2%,56,979people died from influenza- or pneumonia-related illnesses in 2013. Could an increase in flu vaccination coverage have a positive impact on influenza- or pneumonia-related illnesses?

Data from arecent studypublished in theJournal of the American Medical Association(JAMA) suggest that the influenza vaccine decreases the incidence of hospitalization with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). The Etiology of Pneumonia in the Community (EPIC) study was a multicenter study which collected data from January 2010 through June 2012 from hospitalizations due to CAP. The study focused on patients who were 6 months of age or older with laboratory-confirmed influenza and documentation of influenza vaccination. Exclusion criteria included those who were recently hospitalized, the severely immunosuppressed, an age of < 6 months old, enrollment outside of influenza season. A total of 162 out of 2767 patients with pneumonia tested positive for influenza. Of those patients with influenza-related pneumonia, 17% were vaccinated, versus 29% of influenza-negative pneumonia patients. While this data suggests a correlation between vaccination and the likelihood of becoming hospitalized due to influenza, additional studies linking influenza vaccination and pneumonia are needed.

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