A new study finds doctors are not following guidelines recommending flu and pneumonia vaccinations for hospitalized adults. That may be leaving millions of elderly patients vulnerable to potentially deadly ailments. Researchers analyzed medical records for more than 100-thousand Medicare patients nationwide that were hospitalized for various ailments during 1998 and 1999.
Among patients 65 and older who were not already vaccinated, they found more than 95 percent were not immunized against either disease during their hospital stays. The findings appear in Monday’s Archives of Internal Medicine. Combined, pneumonia and flu are the fifth-leading cause of death for older Americans, killing at least 40-thousand annually.