Flu shots for children with asthma

April 30, 2007

Meeting the latest recommendations for yearly flu immunization is difficult, as pediatricians are learning, but surely children with asthma ought to be at the top of the list for immunization.

Meeting the latest recommendations for yearly flu immunization is difficult, as pediatricians are learning, but surely children with asthma ought to be at the top of the list for immunization. These children are at high risk for the complications of influenza, and so their immunization status is crucial. Until now, however, data on coverage rates for children with asthma was not available. Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released data on coverage during the 2004-2005 flu season and the report shows a need for improvement. (MMWR Morbid Mortal Wkly Rep 2007;56:193) Granted, that year was one in which flu vaccine was in short supply, but children with asthma were listed by the CDC as a priority group for immunization. The data show that while children with asthma were more likely to receive flu shots than other children, their coverage rate was still only 29%. The CDC speculates that many opportunities to vaccinate were missed and urges greater effort in future.