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Repeated flu vaccine mean reduced symptoms

Tuesday January 9th, 2018

Elderly people who have had repeated influenza vaccinations gain protection from severe disease, according to a Spanish study.

The research shows how regular vaccination may build protection against a range of flu strains – refuting suggestions of a “negative interference” through annual injections, the researchers say.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), found that repeated influenza vaccination was twice as effective in preventing severe influenza in people admitted to hospital for the virus, compared with non-severe cases.

This effect was consistent regardless of flu season, virus subtypes or age of patient, the researchers report.

Dr Itziar Casado and Dr Jesús Castilla, Instituto de Salud Pública de Navarra, Pamplona, and their team examined the effect of repeated influenza vaccinations in the current and three previous seasons in people aged 65 years and older admitted to 20 Spanish hospitals in 2013/14 and 2014/15.

“Repeated vaccination for influenza was highly effective in preventing severe and fatal infection caused by influenza in older adults,” they write.

“Because severe cases of influenza may be prevented by two mechanisms, the effectiveness of vaccination against severe influenza may be greater than that for mild cases, and the benefit of influenza vaccination may be greater than that estimated in previous studies.

“The prevention of severe and fatal infection caused by influenza was observed mainly in patients who were vaccinated in both the current and previous seasons, which reinforces the recommendation of annual vaccination for influenza in older adults.”

The findings build on previous research that also pointed to the influenza vaccination reducing the severity of the illness.

Casado I, Domínguez Á, Toledo D et al. Repeated influenza vaccination for preventing severe and fatal influenza infection in older adults: a multicentre case–control study. CMAJ 8 2018 January; doi: 10.1503/cmaj.170910

Tags: Elderly Health | Europe | Flu & Viruses

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