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Vaccine Reduces Impact of Pneumonia in Elderly

Vaccinated patients less likely to die, be admitted to intensive care

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with community-acquired pneumonia have a 40 percent lower risk of mortality and intensive care unit admissions if they have been previously vaccinated with 23-valent polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccine, according to study findings published in the Oct. 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Jennie Johnstone, M.D., of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data on 3,415 adults with community-acquired pneumonia, of whom 46 percent were female, 62 percent had severe pneumonia and 22 percent had previously been vaccinated with polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccine.

In all, 624 patients were admitted to intensive care or died, including 73 of the 760 vaccinated patients (10 percent) and 551 of the 2,655 unvaccinated patients (21 percent). Whereas only two vaccinated patients (1 percent) were admitted to the intensive care unit, 349 (13 percent) of the unvaccinated patients needed intensive care.

"Although the totality of published evidence to date indicates that pneumococcal vaccination does not prevent community-acquired pneumonia, our results are consistent with the possibility that pneumococcal vaccination leads to better outcomes in those who go on to eventually develop pneumonia," the authors conclude. "Our results further emphasize the importance of adopting adult pneumococcal vaccination guidelines, particularly since only 22 percent of our population were vaccinated before their hospitalization."

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