Every winter, hospitals face a large increase in emergency respiratory admissions in elderly people. A case-control study was undertaken to assess the effect of routine influenza vaccine in preventing such admissions among a cohort of UK elderly presenting with acute respiratory illness during winter 2003-2004. 157 hospitalised cases and 639 controls (matched for age, sex and week of consultation) were interviewed. 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 OR 1.2 (95%CI 0.8, 1.9). Policy makers should not rely solely on influenza vaccine routinely having a large effect on winter pressures, and should focus on additional preventive strategies.
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Contributors: The initial idea was generated by J.H. and R.J. R.J., J.H., K.K.C., J.A. developed the protocol. R.J. undertook the study with advice from J.H., K.K.C., J.A., W.T., R.M., J.K., R.S., P.A., B.O. R.J. undertook the analysis with advice from K.K.C. R.J. wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors contributed critical comments to the manuscript and read and approved the final version. Funding: Main source of funding was a grant from the British Lung Foundation. Additional support was provided by Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, 3M, South Birmingham PCT and the Department of Health (Support for Science).
- Influenza vaccine
- Winter hospital admissions