Influenza vaccine cuts kids’ risk of hospitalizations from flu

October 10, 2019

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal how well influenza vaccine works in reducing hospitalization rates for serious disease among children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released promising new data providing convincing evidence that vaccination for influenza is preventing the severity of acute respiratory illness among children, leading to fewer pediatric hospitalizations for complications from the flu.

Angela P. Campbell, MD, MPH, medical officer, Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, and colleagues looked at inpatient estimates at 7 pediatric hospitals comprising the New Vaccine Surveillance Network and analyzed how effectively the flu vaccine prevented severe respiratory outcomes, including hospitalizations, among children vaccinated against influenza.

According to their preliminary findings, those children who were vaccinated for influenza cut their risk of hospitalization by half. Vaccine effectiveness against influenza-associated hospitalizations among vaccinated children was 49% during the 2016-2017 flu season and 51% in the 2017-2018 flu season, or a combined 50% over the 2 reporting periods. The study cohort consisted of 3630 children aged 6 months to 17 years hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza in these pediatric centers over 2 flu seasons in which influenza A(H3N2) viruses were the predominantly circulating virus.

The researchers point out that their findings provide more convincing evidence to support yearly influenza vaccination for all children and adults to prevent the flu and associated serious illness and hospitalization.

 

Results of the study were presented this month at IDWeek 2019 in Washington, DC, the annual joint meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the HIV Medical Association (HIVMA), and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS).