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High-dose flu shot reduces hospitalization for nursing home residents

October 13, 2015
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
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Nursing home residents who received the high-dose flu shot had a slightly lower risk of being hospitalized during influenza season, according to findings from the largest study to date.

Study participants who received the shot with four times the strength of the standard flu shot had a 19.7 percent hospital admission rate, compared to the 20.9 percent admission rate for those who received the standard dose vaccine.

“Flu in a nursing home population is a major cause of hospitalizations,” says Stefan Gravenstein, MD, MPH, lead author of the study, and director of the Center for Geriatrics and Palliative Care at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, in a news release. “In addition to pneumonia, flu can contribute to heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes, especially in an older nursing home population where it can easily spread among residents. In our study, for every 83 individuals receiving the high dose vaccine, a person was prevented from being hospitalized during the influenza season.”

The study involved more than 50,000 participants 65 years and older, nearly 14,000 of whom were over the age of 90, from 823 nursing homes in 38 states. The study was funded by a grant from Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of pharmaceutical company Sanofi. 

Findings were presented at this year’s IDWeek, the annual meeting of The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), The HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) and The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS).

View the poster here.

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