Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Older People Should Have The Flu Jab This Winter, Experts Urge

Date:
November 27, 2008
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Despite recent doubts about its effectiveness, the influenza vaccine does give valuable protection against illness, hospital admission and death caused by influenza, and people over 65 should have the flu jab this winter, say experts.

Despite recent doubts about its effectiveness, the influenza vaccine does give valuable protection against illness, hospital admission and death caused by influenza, and people over 65 should have the flu jab this winter, say experts on the British Medical Journal website.

Several prominent media articles have suggested that the flu vaccination programme for the over 65s is not worthwhile. Rachel Jordan from the University of Birmingham and Jeremy Hawker from the Health Protection Agency review the evidence surrounding the ongoing controversy.

The annual influenza vaccination campaign is one of the most successful public health programmes in the UK, with 78% of people over 70 receiving the jab, the highest in Europe.

However, according to the authors, it is notoriously difficult to find out the full effectiveness of the influenza vaccine. For instance, the vaccine may not fully match the strain of a particular year, influenza seasons vary in timing and strength, and few studies measure influenza specific outcomes.

Previous trials have shown that the vaccine is effective in preventing influenza in those over 60. But recently, some researchers have questioned the validity and plausibility of findings for other less specific benefits provided by the vaccine, such as a reported reduction in hospital admissions for influenza and pneumonia by 27% and particularly all cause deaths by 48%. This would imply that most deaths in winter were due to influenza.

Large, routinely-collected datasets analysed in some of these studies had limited patients' details which did not include functional status, disease severity, or smoking status. Other studies which tried to allow for this, have shown benefits to be smaller but significant, whereas one reported no clear effect on all cause deaths. Influenza activity was, however, relatively low in several of these years.

Despite these methodological problems and disagreements, most experts agree that although more evidence is needed on the precise effectiveness of the vaccine, it has some benefit and the vaccination programmes should continue, say the authors.

"Influenza causes substantial mortality and morbidity in older people, and even if the more general all cause mortality benefit may be lower than previously thought, the current vaccine programme offers older people valuable protection against illness, hospital admissions, and mortality specific to influenza, should they be exposed this winter", say the authors.

They conclude by calling for resources to develop more effective vaccines, better forms of delivery of the vaccine for the elderly, and ensuring that more healthcare workers who come into contact with elderly people are vaccinated.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Older People Should Have The Flu Jab This Winter, Experts Urge." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081118200549.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2008, November 27). Older People Should Have The Flu Jab This Winter, Experts Urge. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081118200549.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Older People Should Have The Flu Jab This Winter, Experts Urge." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081118200549.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins