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Clin Infect Dis. 2002 Aug 15;35(4):370-7. Epub 2002 Jul 19.

Influence of high-risk medical conditions on the effectiveness of influenza vaccination among elderly members of 3 large managed-care organizations.

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HealthPartners Research Foundation, Bloomington, IN, USA.


This serial cohort study assessed the risk of hospitalization or death associated with influenza and the effectiveness of influenza vaccination among subgroups of elderly members of 3 managed-care organizations in the United States. Data on baseline characteristics and outcomes were obtained from computerized databases. A total of 122,974 (1996-1997 season) and 158,454 (1997-1998 season) persons were included in the cohorts. Among unvaccinated persons, hospitalizations for pneumonia/influenza or death occurred in 8.2 of 1000 healthy and 38.4 of 1000 high-risk persons in year 1, and in 8.2 of 1000 healthy and 29.3 of 1000 high-risk persons in year 2. After adjustments, vaccination was associated with a 48% reduction in the incidence of hospitalization or death (95% confidence interval [CI], 42-52) in year 1 and 31% (95% CI, 26-37) in year 2. Effectiveness estimates were statistically significant and generally consistent across the healthy and high-risk subgroups. The absolute risk reduction, however, was 2.4- to 4.7-fold higher among high-risk than among healthy elderly persons. All elderly individuals may substantially benefit from vaccination. However, the impact of influenza is greater in persons with high-risk medical conditions.

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