It’s well established (though not accepted by all patients) that getting a flu shot is the best way to reduce risk for influenza infection, and that the need to do so is especially great for older patients. New research out of Spain shows that seniors who get a flu shot every year see a cumulative benefit that helps keep them out of the hospital. The authors of the study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, report that repeating vaccination every year is 74% effective in preventing intensive care unit admissions and 70% effective in preventing deaths. It’s important to note—and to explain to patients—that this research also reconfirms that even when the vaccine does not prevent cases of flu, it can reduce the consequences of getting it.
New Data Show Annual Flu Shots Have a Cumulative Effect for Seniors