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Older vets more apt to get flu/pneumonia jab

Written by: Staff

NEW YORK, Mar 25 (Reuters) Older veterans have higher influenza and pneumococcal vaccination rates compared to older non-veterans, according to results of a survey of more than 54,000 Americans 65 years of age or older. The survey also shows that receiving care at a Veterans Affairs medical center increases the likelihood of receiving these two vaccines.

''Because VA care was independently associated with higher vaccine coverage, features contributing to such accomplishment may serve as a model for other health systems,'' Dr. Ru-Chien Chi and colleagues from the University of Washington, Seattle, report in a report in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Overall, about 30 percent of the subjects interviewed were veterans and about 21 percent reported receiving care at a VA medical center.

Compared to non-veterans, veterans were older and reported poorer self-perceived health, the authors found.

As mentioned, influenza vaccination rates were higher for veterans than for non-veterans (74 per cent versus 68 percent, respectively). Veterans also had higher rates of pneumococcal vaccination (68 percent versus 63 per cent, respectively).

Veterans who received care at a VA medical center had higher rates of influenza and pneumococcal vaccination than non-VA users (80 percent versus 72 percent and 81 per cent versus 64 per cent, respectively).

VA care, influenza vaccine use, and pneumococcal vaccine use were independently associated. Smokers and individuals of black race were less likely to receive flu and pneumonia vaccination.

''Because provider recommendation is associated with higher vaccine use in older people, enhanced efforts by clinicians to deliver this message, especially to under vaccinated groups, will be important,'' the authors write.

Reuters CH DB0824

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