CDC Study Finds Flu Shots in Seniors Cuts Hospitalization Risk by 50%

senior woman at flu shot clinic

A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added more evidence that a flu shot is a vital step in protecting the health of older Americans. Researchers found that among those age 50 and older who got a flu shot during the 2010-11 flu season, the risk of hospitalization was cut by more than half. The study was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases (CID) in early August.

Flu Shots Protected All Seniors, Say Researchers

Each season, the CDC reviews how effective the annual flu vaccine is at preventing illness that requires medical attention. However, there have been few studies that examined how well flu vaccines work at preventing more serious outcomes in older adults, including hospitalization. Here are key findings included in the CDC study.

  • During three recent flu seasons, an estimated 115,000 to 630,000 people were hospitalized with flu-related complications. People ages 65 and older accounted for between 54% and 71% of hospitalizations.
  • During the three flu seasons, an estimated 5,000 to 27,000 flu-related deaths occurred. Those 65 and older accounted for between 71% and 85% of deaths.
  • Of 368 flu-hospitalized patients included in the study, vaccinated people 50 years and older were 57% less likely to be hospitalized than unvaccinated people, when compared to case controls selected from the same community.
  • The decreased risk of hospitalization appeared to be similar across age groups, including those 75 years and older. This is in contrast with previous studies which indicated vaccine effectiveness may decline with age.

Vaccine Recommendations for Seniors

Because older adults are at increased risk of flu-related complications, the CDC recommends a flu shot at the beginning of each flu season for greater protection. Fluzone® High-Dose is a flu shot that has been specially formulated to provide a stronger immunity response against the flu in adults age 65 and older. Fluzone is available at RediClinic flu shot clinics around the country.

Make an online appointment or walk into your nearest RediClinic to get a flu shot, seven days a week!