Impact of Vaccination Measured Against Flu-Linked Pediatric Deaths

Influenza vaccine effectiveness 51% among children with high-risk conditions, 65% overall
Influenza vaccine effectiveness 51% among children with high-risk conditions, 65% overall

HealthDay News — Influenza vaccination is associated with reduced risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated death in children, with overall vaccine effectiveness of 65%, according to research published online April 3 in Pediatrics.

Brendan Flannery, PhD, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a case-control analysis comparing vaccination uptake among laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric deaths with estimated vaccination coverage among pediatric cohorts. The authors obtained influenza vaccination coverage estimates from national survey data or a national insurance claims database.

The researchers found that there were 358 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric deaths among children aged 6 months through 17 years from July 2010 through June 2014. Vaccination status was obtained for 291 deaths; 26% received vaccine before onset of illness. In the survey cohorts, the average vaccination coverage was 48%. The overall vaccine effectiveness against death was 65%. Of 153 deaths in children with underlying high-risk medical conditions, 31% were vaccinated. Among children with high-risk conditions, vaccine effectiveness was 51%, compared with 65% among children without high-risk conditions. 

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"Influenza vaccination was associated with reduced risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric death," the authors write. "Increasing influenza vaccination could prevent influenza-associated deaths among children and adolescents."

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