October 6, 2011
With the flu season and other seasonal illnesses approaching, it is important to understand the ins and outs of vaccinations for older adults.
- For the elderly, the chance of death from influenza and pneumonia is greater than the risk of death from an automobile accident.
- Of around 32,400 annual American flu-related deaths, 90% are people age 65 and over.
- Of around 52,000 annual American pneumonia-related deaths, the majority are people age 65 and over.
- Of around 225,000 American flu-related hospitalizations, over half occur for people age 65 and over.
- 1.2 million Americans are hospitalized annually with pneumonia.
The flu vaccine can be as much as 70 to 90% effective for healthy seniors; and according to the National Network for Immunization Information, hospital patients who have received the pneumonia vaccine:
- Have a lower incidence of respiratory failure
- Have a lower incidence of kidney failure
- Have a lower incidence of heart attack
- Spend two fewer days in the hospital on average
- Are 40 to 70% less likely to die from complications from pneumococcal bacteremia than unvaccinated patients