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Pursuit of points 'is killing patients'

Influenza vaccination does not reduce the risk of hospitalisation in elderly patients with acute respiratory disease, concludes controversial new research.

Patients who received the flu vaccine had exactly the same risk of entering hospital over winter as those who had not, according to data presented at last week's Society for Social Medicine conference.

The Health Protection Agency study evaluated the risk factors for winter hospitalisation in 2,500 elderly patients with respiratory illness at 80 general practices.

The autumn programme of flu vaccination begins on

October 4.

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