In the United States, seasonal influenza epidemics are responsible for an estimated 226,000 hospitalizations and between 3,000 and 49,000 deaths each year. Pneumonia, the leading infectious cause of hospitalization and death in the United States, is a serious complication of influenza. A new study examined whether getting a flu shot can help reduce hospitalizations due to influenza pneumonia.
Researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center evaluated more than 2,700 patients from January 2010 to June 2012. All patients had pneumonia and were admitted to the hospital from the emergency department. Overall, about six percent of patients had pneumonia due to influenza.
Researchers estimated that the patients who received influenza vaccine had a 57 percent less chance of getting hospitalized with influenza-pneumonia than those patients who were not vaccinated.