Background: The aim of this study was to estimate excess pneumonia and influenza (P&I) hospitalizations during influenza epidemics and measure their correlation with influenza vaccine coverage in the 65 and more years old, according to the type/subtype of influenza virus. Methods: The study period comprised week 40/1998-40/2015. Age-specific weekly P&I hospitalizations (ICD-9: 480-487) as main diagnosis were extracted from the National Hospital Discharge database. Age-specific baseline hospitalization rates were estimated by autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model without time periods with excess hospitalizations. Excess hospitalizations were calculated by subtracting expected hospitalization rates from the observed during influenza epidemic periods. Correlation between excess P&I hospitalizations and influenza vaccine coverage in the elderly was measured with Pearson correlation coefficient. Results: The average excess P&I hospitalizations/season was 19.4/105 (range 0-46.1/105), and higher excess was observed in young children with <2 years (79.8/105) and ≥65 years (68.3/105). In epidemics with A(H3) dominant, the highest excess hospitalizations were observed among 65 and over. Seasons which influenza B or A(H1)pdm09 dominance the highest excess was observed in children with <2 years. High negative correlation was estimated between excess hospitalizations associated with A(H3) circulation and vaccine coverage in the elderly (r = −.653; 95% CI: −0.950 to −0.137). Conclusion: Over 80% of the influenza epidemics were associated with excess hospitalizations. However, excess P&I hospitalizations pattern differed from age group and circulating virus. This ecologic approach also identified a reduction in excess P&I associated with A(H3) circulation with increasing vaccine coverage in the elderly.
- autoregressive integrated moving average models
- excess hospitalizations
- influenza epidemics
- vaccine coverage