Influenza Vaccinations Associated with Decreased Flu-Linked Pediatric Deaths

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Influenza vaccine effectiveness was 51% among children with high-risk conditions and 65% overall.
Influenza vaccine effectiveness was 51% among children with high-risk conditions and 65% overall.

HealthDay News -- According to a study published in Pediatrics, influenza vaccination is associated with reduced risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated death in children, with an overall vaccine effectiveness of 65%.

Brendan Flannery, PhD, from the US 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.

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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.

"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."

Reference

Flannery B, et al. "Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Against Pediatric Deaths: 2010–2014". Pediatrics. 2017. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-4244 [Epub ahead of print]

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