The influenza vaccine may do more than just prevent flu-related deaths

March 1, 2007

The influenza vaccine not only reduces the morbidity and mortality of influenza, it also reduces the risk of death in adults hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Spaude and colleagues found that this protective effect covered in-hospital all-cause mortality, even after adjustment for pneumococcal vaccination status and the presence of comorbidities.

The influenza vaccine not only reduces the morbidity and mortality of influenza, it also reduces the risk of death in adults hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Spaude and colleagues found that this protective effect covered in-hospital all-cause mortality, even after adjustment for pneumococcal vaccination status and the presence of comorbidities.

They studied 17,393 adults (mean age, 72 years) hospitalized with CAP. Influenza vaccination status was available for 8251 patients; 19% of them had received the influenza vaccine in the current or most recent influenza season.

Those who had been vaccinated against influenza were less likely to die of any cause in the hospital, compared with those who had not been vaccinated (odds ratio, 0.30). This finding was significant even after adjustment for comorbid illnesses and pneumococcal vaccination (adjusted odds ratio, 0.61).

The authors suggest that their findings could be used to bol- ster public health messages about the importance of vaccination for influenza.