UBC logoIt is known that Influenza vaccination may assist in the prevention of disease. But as per a new study from the University of British Columbia, Canada, experts have proposed that it may also avert another public health problem which is supposedly that of the improper use of antibiotic.

A widespread immunization program offering free influenza vaccines to anyone 6 months of age or older was started in the year 2000 at the Canadian province of Ontario. For vaccination, the other regions continued to aim only at the high-risk groups and their contacts. The prescription rates for influenza-associated respiratory antibiotics prior to and post the starting of the Ontario program was compared by the authors. The prescription rates of Ontario were also compared with those of the other areas.

A 64 percent reduction in these antibiotic prescriptions was apparently observed in the broader immunization effort in Ontario. It was compared with the other areas that retained targeted vaccination programs. Adding to it the influenza-mortality claimed to have reduced by 39 percent. The average of 52 percent also lowered in the flu-related hospitalizations, emergency department use and doctor’s office.

According to study author Fawziah Marra, PharmD, of the University of British Columbia, the study’s findings suggested that “Jurisdictions wishing to decrease antibiotic use might consider programs to increase influenza vaccination.”

Although antibiotics don’t work against viruses such as the flu, extensive number of antibiotic prescriptions are used for influenza and upper respiratory conditions. The development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the overuse of antibiotics supposedly persist to be a grave public health issue.

This study would appear in the September issue of Clinical Infectious Disease which is now available online.