High-dose flu vaccine more effective in prevention of influenza hospitalizations in elderly

February 9, 2015

High-dose inactivated influenza vaccinations from community pharmacists during 2012-2013 flu season were more effective than standard-dose inactivated flu shots in patients 65 years and older, and helped in the prevention of influenza-associated hospitalizations, according to a comparative effectiveness study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

 

High-dose inactivated influenza vaccinations from community pharmacists during 2012-2013 flu season were more effective than standard-dose inactivated flu shots in patients 65 years and older, and helped in the prevention of influenza-associated hospitalizations, according to a comparative effectiveness study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Related content: Flu vaccine: What you need to know

In a retrospective analysis, more than 900,000 Medicare beneficiaries received high-dose trivalent inactivated influenza vaccines and 1.6 million of Medicare patients received standard-dose vaccines between August 2012 and January 2013. The primary outcome of probable flu was determined by a Medicare billing claim of a rapid influenza test, followed by a prescription of oseltamivir, a neurominidase inhibitor. The secondary outcome of a hospital or emergency department visits was confirmed by a Medicare billing code for influenza, according to Hector S. Izurieta, MD, of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA, Silver Spring, MD, and his co-authors.

“The high-dose vaccine (1.30 outcomes per 10,000 person-weeks) was 22% more effective than the standard-dose vaccine (1.01 outcomes per 10,000 person-weeks) for prevention of probable influenza infections and 22% more effective for prevention of influenza hospital admissions (0.86 outcomes per 10,000 person-weeks in the high-dose cohort vs 1.10 outcomes per 10,000 person-weeks in the standard-dose cohort),” Izurieta and his co-authors said.

Not only did this study demonstrate the effectiveness of high-dose influenza vaccine compared with standard-dose influenza vaccine, it also indicated “a significant reduction in influenza-related hospital admissions,” the authors noted.

Policy makers should consider this new information in their recommendations for influenza vaccinations in the elderly.

The study was supported by the Food and Drug Administration and the office of the assistant secretary of planning and evaluation.

Also see:

ACIP recommends need-free, nasal flu vaccine for kids

CDC: Flu vaccine reduced kid’s risk of ICU flu admission by three-fourths