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Enhanced flu vaccines reduce mortality in the elderly by nearly 50%

In a University of Copenhagen study, high-dose flu vaccination in the elderly reduced the risk of death by 49% and the frequency of hospitalizations with influenza or pneumonia by 64%.

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Previous studies have examined the relationship between influenza infection and cardiovascular accidents. One study showed a sixfold increase in the risk of myocardial infarction within a week of a positive flu test, and another showed that approximately 19% of hospitalizations for heart failure could be influenza-related during epidemics. A study of adults hospitalized with influenza showed that nearly 12% had acute cardiovascular disease.

Early studies have also shown that the influenza vaccine can prevent cardiovascular accidents. The effect of high-dose quadrivalent influenza vaccines compared with standard doses on severe clinical outcomes, such as hospitalizations and mortality in the elderly in general, has not previously been evaluated.

In a new study, recipients of the “boosted” vaccine had more than half the rate of hospitalizations for influenza or pneumonia compared with standard-dose recipients and a lower all-cause mortality rate: 49%. There were no significant differences in serious adverse events between the high-dose and standard-dose groups.

Amplified high-dose flu vaccines contain 60 µg of hemagglutinin antigen for each strain, whereas standard-dose vaccines contain only 15 µg. They are approved for adults 65 years of age and older in most countries.

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