JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
REVIEW
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Lower respiratory tract infections: prevention using vaccines.

In summary, vaccines are available to prevent two of the most common and most deadly causes of lower respiratory tract infections: pneumococcal disease and influenza. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine prevents pneumococcal bacteremia; influenza vaccines prevent influenza as well as several complications of influenza. Despite all that is known about how well these vaccines work, influenza and pneumococcal vaccines are underused markedly, especially among some minority groups that are affected dis-proportionately by disease. Coverage also remains low among health care workers, although providing influenza vaccine to health care workers saves lives among patients. Tools such as standing orders can help clinicians increase vaccine coverage in their patient populations. While research for new and improved vaccines to prevent lower respiratory tract infections continues,focusing on simple measures for increasing vaccine use can help prevent morbidity and mortality now.

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