Influenza vaccination may do more for the elderly than reduce the odds of hospitalisation for pneumonia and death from all causes. A large US cohort study of 286 000 community-dwelling patients aged 65 years or older compared the health status of the 58% who had received the vaccine with that of the unvaccinated. For the two ’flu seasons studied, the vaccinated also had a lower risk of hospitalisation for cardiac and cerebrovascular disease. The effect was seen in both healthy and high-risk patients. However, the researchers were unable to rule out whether some of the benefit was due to pneumococcal vaccination.
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