[Low vaccination coverage against influenza in elderly hospitalized in France.]
PURPOSE: Annual influenza epidemics is still a major cause of illness and mortality especially in the elderly. Annual vaccination is the most effective way to prevent disease and reduce hospitalizations and deaths related to influenza in the elderly population. In France, there are few data available about vaccination coverage of elderly at risk for influenza. The aim of the study was to measure the influenza vaccination coverage and assess traceability in the elderly (≥75years old) admitted to hospital. METHODS: In participating French hospitals, each patient aged 75years or more, hospitalized in acute units of internal medicine, geriatric and infectious disease, was included in a multicentric point prevalence survey. RESULTS: Between April and May 2011, 63 departments of 28 hospitals participated and 903 patients were included (mean age of included patients: 85years): 82% were previously living at home and 13% were institutionalized. Most of them had multiple diseases (77%) and 21% were admitted for a respiratory disease: 58% were vaccinated against influenza. A back-up for traceability was identified in 53% of cases. Patient refusal may be a common determinant of non-vaccination, as well as non-proposal by the attending physician. The vaccination rate did not differ according to usual living place including accommodation facilities in geriatric. CONCLUSION: Coverage for influenza vaccination is low in hospitalized elderly patients and traceability is insufficient. This vaccine, noncompliance mostly linked to the refusal of patients, is a worrisome public health problem, on which physicians and hospital staff in charge, as well as institutions, should turn attention toward a multi-professional preventive strategy against the morbidity risk of this infectious disease.