The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the seasonal influenza vaccine prevented over 40,000 influenza-associated deaths in the U.S. during 2005–2006 through 2013–2014. The new study is published in the journal Vaccine.
Seasonal influenza-associated deaths range between 3,000–49,000 people each year. Children <5 years old and adults ≥65 years old usually account for the majority of influenza-associated deaths and have the highest influenza-associated hospitalization rates.
Researchers used statistical modeling with 4 age-group (0.5–4 years, 5–19 years, 20–64 years, and ≥65 years) specific estimates of influenza-associated excess deaths, estimates of monthly influenza vaccination coverage, and estimates of summary seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness. Overall, the study showed that the influenza vaccine led to a 22% reduction in the deaths that would have occurred without the vaccine. Nearly 89% of influenza-associated deaths prevented were in people ≥65 years old (95% CI: 83–92.5%). Children aged 6 months–4 years had the greatest benefit from the influnenza vaccine in the percentage of deaths averted.
The greatest prevention was seen during the 2012–2013 season with nearly 9,400 deaths prevented by vaccination (95% CI: 2,386–19,897) even though the vaccine efficacy was modest that season. The least prevention was seen during the 2009 pandemic with 222 deaths prevented by vaccination (95% CI: 79–347). This may have been due to the fact that the 2009 monovalent pandemic vaccine did not become widely accessible until after the peak of influenza.
For more information visit CDC.gov.
This article originally appeared on MPR