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