From the August edition of the Lancet we get a study on how protective Flu Vaccines are in the elderly.
Here is the link, and Lancet's description of the study.
Influenza vaccine for community-acquired pneumonia
Many observational studies suggest that influenza vaccine substantially reduces the risk of hospital admission due to pneumonia in elderly adults. In today's Lancet, Michael Jackson and colleagues challenge these findings with results from a well-designed case-control study about the effectiveness of inactivated influenza vaccine against community-acquired pneumonia in adults aged 65–94 years. This study was done in a US managed-care population over three seasons when the antigenic match between vaccine and circulating influenza strains was good. The investigators identified cases of pneumonia.....
This article is listed as Premium Content, and so access is by subscription. Luckily, we do have this synopsis from HealthDay News.
Older, frail folks are more susceptible to flu and its complications, researchers say.
By Steven Reinberg
THURSDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Flu vaccine may not protect older people from pneumonia once they get the disease, researchers report.
Older, frail adults are more susceptible to getting the flu, even if they have been vaccinated, and once getting the flu, they are more susceptible to such complications as pneumonia. It had been thought that flu vaccine would prevent flu -- and pneumonia -- across all groups of seniors, but this benefit appears to be largely confined to younger, healthier seniors.
"In seniors, flu vaccine was not linked to a reduced risk of pneumonia," said lead researcher Michael L. Jackson, a postdoctoral fellow at the Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle.
Jackson still recommends that seniors get flu vaccine, however. "There have been good randomized trials that show, at least in healthy seniors, that the vaccine reduces the risk of influenza," he said. "However, earlier studies have overestimated how well the vaccine works in reducing complications of influenza. So, the vaccine may not reduce the risk of complications as much as previously thought," he said.
Among young healthy seniors, the vaccine reduces the risk of flu, Jackson said. "When you look at the total population of seniors, which includes people over 75 and people that have chronic health diseases -- lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, and things like that -- we don't know if the vaccine is effective in the seniors," he said. "People with these chronic diseases are more susceptible to getting the flu, and they are more likely to develop pneumonia if they do get influenza."