COPD Patients Reduced Hospitalizations by 38% After Flu Shot

Influenza vaccination reduced hospitalizations for people with COPD

person smoking a cig with a cup of coffee

A new study has reported a measurable benefit for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) who received a seasonal influenza vaccine.   

This study reported that COPD patients realized a 38 percent reduction in influenza-related hospitalizations after they have a flu shot. 

This large national study of 46 hospitals between 2011 to 2015 from Canada showed despite recommendations to get flu shots, patients with COPD have a low uptake of the vaccination, approximately 58 percent. 

Among 4,755 hospitalized COPD patients, 4,198 (88.3%) patients with known vaccination status were analyzed. 

In the adjusted analysis, vaccination wasn’t associated with significant mortality reduction. 

COPD makes it hard for you to breathe. The two main types are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. 

The main cause of COPD is long-term exposure to substances that irritate and damage the lungs. This is usually cigarette smoke. Air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust can also cause it. 

At first, COPD may cause no symptoms or only mild symptoms.

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However, as the disease gets worse, symptoms usually become more severe, reports Medline.gov.  

These Canadian researchers said initiatives to increase vaccination rates could reduce flu-related hospitalizations, severe illness, and lower overall healthcare costs. 

One of those initiatives could be offering flu shots to patients while they are hospitalized. 

According to a new Kaiser Permanente study, giving patients an influenza vaccine while they are hospitalized is convenient and most important, safe. 

This Kaiser study reported: 

  • 74 percent of those who miss the opportunity to vaccinate before or during hospitalization, remained unvaccinated throughout the flu season,
  • 71 percent of patients vaccinated during their hospital stay were vaccinated on the day of discharge,
  • There was no increased risk of hospital readmissions, outpatient visits, fever, or clinical evaluations for infection among patients who received the flu vaccine during their hospital stay. 

"This research backs up what many physicians have known intuitively for some time: giving patients the flu vaccine while they are hospitalized is convenient and, most important, safe," said Bruno J. Lewin, MD, a family practice physician at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. 

"Unless there are contraindications, physicians should have no hesitation to vaccinate patients with the flu vaccine while they are hospitalized," said Dr. Lewin.