Elk Grove Village, IL—(ENEWSPF)—December 8, 2014. Between 2004 and 2008, annual influenza vaccine recommendations were gradually expanded to include all children aged 6 months or older.
In the Pediatrics study, “Influenza-Related Hospitalizations and ED Visits in Children Less Than 5 Years: 2000-2011,” from the January 2015 issue (published online Dec. 8), researchers studied vaccine uptake and influenza-related hospital visits among children age 6 months to 59 months from the 2000-2001 flu season through the 2010-2011 flu season in Davidson County, Tenn. Davidson is an urban county that includes Nashville and has a total population of about 600,000. Overall influenza coverage remained low (≤50 percent) in children under 5 years. Influenza vaccine coverage increased slowly from 2004-2005, and was highest in 2010-2011, when 38 percent of enrolled children were fully vaccinated. An exception was the low uptake during the 2009-2010 pandemic year, when the influenza A (H1N1) vaccine was not available until late in the season. The estimated number of flu-related hospitalizations ranged from a high of 60 to a low of 7 annually, with the highest rates seen in 2003-2004 when influenza A (H3N2) dominated. The annual number of ED visits ranged from a high of 2,324 to a low of 352 visits.
Study authors conclude that although influenza vaccinations increased over time, rates remain low and influenza still causes a substantial burden of serious illness in young children. Continuing evaluation of data is needed to accurately assess the impact of influenza vaccine recommendations in children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.