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October 22, 1997

Missed Opportunities for Pneumococcal and Influenza Vaccination of Medicare Pneumonia Inpatients—12 Western States, 1995

JAMA. 1997;278(16):1307-1308. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550160027015

INVASIVE pneumococcal infection (i.e., bacteremia and meningitis) and influenza are important causes of morbidity and mortality among Medicare beneficiaries aged ≥65 years. In the United States, the estimated annual incidence of pneumococcal bacteremia among persons aged ≥65 years is 50-83 cases per 100,000 persons,1 and such infections are associated with a high case-fatality rate. Older persons account for >90% of influenzarelated deaths,2 and Medicare costs for influenza-related hospitalizations can reach $1 billion each year.3 The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that persons aged ≥65 years receive at least one lifetime dose of pneumococcal vaccine1 and annual influenza vaccination2 and that hospitalization should be used as an opportunity to vaccinate. This report describes an assessment of the vaccination coverage of Medicare pneumonia patients who were admitted to hospitals in 12 western states* from October 1994 through September 1995 (fiscal