Effectiveness of the influenza vaccination program for the elderly in Taiwan.Vaccine. 2013 Jan 11; 31(4):632-8.V
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
Since 1998, an influenza vaccination program has been implemented by the Taiwan government targeting people aged ≥65 years. However, the evidence of the effectiveness of this program in preventing influenza, which is based on the nation-wide database, is lacking. This study attempted to estimate the effectiveness of the influenza vaccination program in preventing influenza- and pneumonia-associated outpatient visits and hospitalization in the elderly.
Randomly sampled data of 1 million claims from the National Health Insurance Research Database compiled into seven consecutive cohorts were used to perform this analysis. Elderly claimants aged ≥65 years were included in each cohort. To decrease potential bias between vaccinated and unvaccinated subjects, the propensity score method was applied. Logistic regression and zero-inflated negative binominal regression were used to examine the effectiveness of vaccination in preventing influenza- and pneumonia-associated outpatient visits and hospitalization.
A significant decrease in both the risk and frequency of hospitalization was observed in elderly people who received influenza vaccination compared with those who did not. No similar decrease was observed in the risk and frequency of outpatient visits for influenza and pneumonia.
Vaccination against influenza reduced hospitalization for influenza and pneumonia in elderly Taiwanese people. These results are meaningful for the promotion of vaccination policy. Annual influenza vaccination of the elderly should be encouraged.