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Giving Flu Shots to Older Emergency Department Patients Is Cost Effective

Each year, there are approximately 40,000 deaths from influenza, mostly in the elderly.

While vaccination is the main way to prevent cases and reduce complications, only 36% of adults 65 and older get a flu shot each year. Offering the flu shot to older patients seeking care from emergency departments (EDs) is a cost-effective strategy, particularly for patients older than 65 years, concludes researchers.

Three strategies were investigated: no vaccination, giving the flu shot to those over 50, and vaccinating patients older than 65. Vaccinating patients over 50 or over 65 were both cost-effective compared to not vaccinating anyone in the ED. Individuals older than 50 getting the flu shot resulted in an incremental cost of $34,610 per life saved compared to no vaccination.

For more info, see Patterson et al. (2012). Cost-effectiveness of influenza vaccination of older adults in the ED setting. American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 30, 1072-1079. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2011.07.007

 

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