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Editor's Correspondence
February 8, 1999

Influenza Vaccination in Bedridden Patients

Arch Intern Med. 1999;159(3):316-317. doi:

Influenza and its complications are a major cause of illness, suffering, and death among high-risk persons worldwide. More than 80% of excess deaths attributable to influenza occur among persons 65 years of age and older. However, several reports show both the cost-effectiveness1 and clinical efficacy2,3 of influenza vaccination in elderly individuals. Although functional disability in the elderly is suggested to increase the risk of influenza-related mortality through malnutrition and subsequent decreased host defenses,4 to our knowledge, the effectiveness of influenza vaccination has not been studied in such patients. Evaluation of the effectiveness of influenza vaccine across the spectrum of disability would help to resolve the issue whether vaccination contributes to the prevention of morbidity and mortality due to influenza. We therefore examined the antibody response to influenza vaccines in elderly patients confined to bed and compared the results with those in age-matched healthy controls and young adults.