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March 10, 1999

Influenza Control—Unfinished Business

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex.

JAMA. 1999;281(10):944-945. doi:10.1001/jama.281.10.944

The goal of the influenza control program is to reduce mortality and serious morbidity due to influenza. Some indicators suggest that progress is being made. Vaccine coverage in persons aged 65 years or older has increased to as high as 75% in some areas, but the national average is closer to 65%.1 Furthermore, studies have shown that immunization against influenza will significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization of elderly patients.2 Not only is influenza vaccination effective in reducing serious morbidity but it is also cost saving, a characteristic of very few interventions in medicine.