New report reinforces flu shot's benefits

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A new report continues to fuel the debate over the need for flu shots in the elderly. This latest take finds that flu shots are necessary, reducing the hospitalization and death rate among older people who take them.

Flu shots cut hospitalizations for pneumonia by 27% and reduced the overall death rate by one-half in the elderly who were given the vaccinations, according to a 10-year analysis led by Dr. Kristin Nichol of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Minneapolis. The study is reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

While two recent studies concluded the elderly receive no appreciable benefit from getting the flu shot, this newest study says the flu shot offers a definite benefit to people 65 and older, according to Nichol.