What is the Actual Cost of the Flu?

Influenza vaccination reduces hospitalizations and overall flu related costs

When Canadian researchers studied the actual costs to treat a person with the influenza virus, they were surprised at the result.

These researchers found the cost of laboratory-confirmed influenza was much higher than previous estimates, according to this new information from Canada.

This study determined that the average cost per case of influenza requiring hospitalization from 2010 to 2013 was $14,612.

The increased costs were driven mostly by the length of stay in a hospital.

Of the 2,943 adult admissions included in this analysis, 14 percent resulted in Intensive Care Unit admissions.

The average hospital stay was nearly 11 days.

Each day of hospitalization costs an average of $1,254 in Canadian dollars.

The study, published in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, collected from 27 participating hospitals in 6 provinces, with the largest portion of participants living in Ontario (66.8%).

Previous studies of hospitalization across Canada for patients with a diagnosis of influenza like illness have found the mean cost per case of $2,145, with an overall hospital length of stay of 10.8 days.

The majority of patients (90.7%) were still alive 30 days post discharge, and only 4.9% were re-admitted to the hospital during follow up, according to this research.

Which means, national influenza vaccination efforts are clearly a cost-saving tactic.

In the USA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

Most pharmacies in the USA offer several FDA approved flu vaccines.

The flu shot cost varies depending upon your insurance and which state you live.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information.

Flu vaccine discounts can be found here.

For further information on influenza in the USA, please visit the CDC website.

This research was funded by the Canadian Immunization Research Network and GlaxoSmithKline. Several researchers reported commercial relationships with pharmaceutical firms.