Purpose: The effects of influenza vaccines are unclear for elderly individuals with disabilities. We use a population-based cohort study to estimate the effects of influenza vaccines in elderly individuals with and without disabilities. Methods: Data were taken from the National Health Insurance Research Database and Disabled Population Profile of Taiwan. A total of 2,741,403 adults aged 65 or older were identified and 394,490 were people with a disability. These two groups were further divided into those who had or had not received an influenza vaccine. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to compare the relative risks (RRs) of death and hospitalization across the four groups. Results: 30.78% elderly individuals without a disability and 34.59% elderly individuals with a disability had vaccinated for influenza. Compared to the unvaccinated elderly without a disability, the vaccinated elderly without a disability had significantly lower risks in all-cause mortality (RR = 0.64) and hospitalization for any of the influenza-related diseases (RR = 0.91). Both the unvaccinated and vaccinated elderly with a disability had significantly higher risks in all-cause mortality (RR = 1.81 and 1.18, respectively) and hospitalization for any of the influenza-related diseases (RR = 1.73 and 1.59, respectively). Conclusions: The elderly with a disability had higher risks in mortality and hospitalization than those without a disability; however, receiving influenza vaccinations could still generate more protection to the disabled elderly.
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