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Flu vaccine for hospitalized patients is safe and effective, study confirms

A retrospective study published by the Mayo Clinic confirms the efficiency of influenza vaccinations during hospitalization.

The influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone above the age of six months. Currently, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that if a patient is hospitalized, then that person is to receive the influenza vaccine before the person is discharged. While there may be exceptions with good cause to this rule, it is necessary to find adequate evidence to support the details of the procedure.

A recent study conducted and confirmed by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research provided sufficient evidence that the influenza vaccines given to the hospitalized patients would increase the utilization of health care services, increase the detection rate of fevers, and evaluation of infections after discharge.

This study followed a previous research venture by the researchers that determined that the patients getting vaccinated were in no larger risk compared to the patients not getting vaccinated. The evidence that vaccinated individuals had no risk motivated the researchers to target a more specialised study group of hospitalized patients to further eradicate concerns about giving the influenza vaccine during hospital procedures.

The study consisted of members that were part of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California health care system in the United States. This system uses health care records to integrate all the information about patients. It is easy to find an individual’s vaccination schedule and laboratory results along with their history and relevant clinical data in these records.

The age of the participants ranged from six months to older ages. The criteria to recruit the individual into the study was to determine if that participant was eligible for an influenza vaccine. The patients were then assessed about seven days after discharge to see the results. The laboratory studies were also done to see the presence of any infections or side effects from the vaccine.

The researcher’s findings confirmed the safety of influenza vaccines during hospitalizations. They concluded that any contact made with a health care professional should be seen as an opportunity to vaccinate.

Written by Dr. Apollina Sharma, MBBS, GradDip EXMD

Reference: Tartof, Sara Y., et al. “Safety of Influenza Vaccination Administered During Hospitalization.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Elsevier, 2019.



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