Objective: To assess the clinical effectiveness of influenza vaccination in preventing influenza-associated hospitalization and death.
Design: Case-control study.
Setting and patients: Noninstitutionalized persons aged 45 years or older living in Manitoba, on December 1, 1982, and December 1, 1985.
Methods: Linked records of the Manitoba population registry, hospital-discharge abstracts, physician claims for ambulatory-patient visits and influenza vaccination, and vital statistics were used. A matched-set analysis estimated the clinical effectiveness of influenza vaccination in preventing hospital admissions and deaths from influenza-associated conditions during influenza A (H3N2) outbreak periods in 1982 to 1983 (12 weeks) and 1985 to 1986 (10 weeks). The analysis adjusted for hospital discharge and ambulatory care for high-risk conditions within the previous 15 months and 3 months, respectively.
Results: Influenza vaccination prevented 32% to 39% of hospital admissions with pneumonia and influenza and 15% to 34% of admissions with all respiratory conditions. Vaccination was 43% to 65% effective in preventing hospital deaths with these conditions (all listed diagnoses) and 27% to 30% effective in preventing deaths from all causes.
Conclusion: Influenza vaccination has substantial clinical effectiveness in preventing hospital admission and death from influenza-associated conditions in noninstitutionalized individuals.