Influenza vaccination: a 21st century dilemma.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


South Dakota medicine : the journal of the South Dakota State Medical Association, Volume Spec no, p.110-8 (2013)


Humansdigestive disease, digestive deseases Influenza Vaccinesdigestive disease, digestive deseases Influenza, Humandigestive disease, digestive deseases Morbiditydigestive disease, digestive deseases United Statesdigestive disease, digestive deseases Vaccination


Each year, an average of 5 to 10 percent of the U.S. population has symptomatic influenza illness, 226,000 persons are hospitalized and 24,000 die due to influenza-associated illness. Hospitalization rates are highest at the extremes of age, about one per 1,000 or higher in infants, persons age 65 and older and persons with chronic medical conditions. Ninety percent of deaths are in persons age 65 and older, but deaths also occur rarely in healthy children and young adults. Current influenza vaccines are moderately effective, with current evidence suggesting that they can prevent about half of influenza-associated symptomatic illness, outpatient visits, hospitalizations and deaths, with the evidence weaker for the most serious complications. Current licensed vaccines have mild immediate adverse effects and serious adverse effects are rare. Annual estimates of influenza vaccine effectiveness against the spectrum of clinical illness and in all age groups are needed to evaluate and support current vaccine policies and to help guide more effective vaccine development. Increased use of the current imperfect vaccines could prevent substantial morbidity and mortality in the U.S.