How is influenza pneumonia prevented?

Updated: Mar 24, 2021
  • Author: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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Annual fall vaccination of high-risk populations and healthcare workers is the most effective measure for decreasing morbidity and mortality from influenza. [88] Each year's influenza vaccine contains the three virus strains (usually two type A strains and 1 type B strain) considered most likely to cause outbreaks based on epidemiologic surveillance.

In the United States, specific recommendations for vaccination against influenza are issued each year by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). [104]

The effectiveness of the vaccine depends on the age and general health status of the recipient and the antigenic similarity to the virus causing outbreaks that year. When the vaccine matches the prevalent influenza virus strain, the efficacy of the vaccine in healthy adults is reported to be in the range of 70-90%.

The effectiveness of widespread vaccination in elderly persons has been called into question. A recent meta-analysis of the efficacy, effectiveness, and safety of the influenza vaccine in patients older than 65 years found that vaccination is of benefit to residents of long-term care facilities but is of modest value in the community. [105] However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommend immunization of all elderly patients. [104, 106]

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