Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Flu vaccine rates in children remain lower than expected, despite recommendations

Date:
January 10, 2013
Source:
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
This year’s flu season is in full swing with 41 states now reporting widespread illness. Unfortunately, not enough children are getting the flu shot even though health officials recommend that all children 6 months and older get the vaccine. According to a new study, less than 45 percent of children were vaccinated against the flu during a five-year study period.

This year's flu season is in full swing with 41 states now reporting widespread illness.

Unfortunately, not enough children are getting the flu shot even though health officials recommend that all children 6 months and older get the vaccine. According to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, less than 45 percent of children were vaccinated against the flu during a five-year study period.

"Our research showed that one in six children under age 5 who went to an emergency department or clinic with fever and respiratory symptoms during the peak flu seasons had the flu," said Katherine Poehling, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study, published in the online edition of the February issue of Pediatrics. "Many of those illnesses could have been prevented by vaccination, the best known protection against the flu."

The researchers found that children less than 6 months of age had the highest hospitalization rates with flu. "Parents should include a yearly flu shot to protect themselves and their children," Poehling said. "The best way to protect infants too young to receive the influenza vaccine is for pregnant women, the infant's family members and contacts to get the shot, too."

The study, funded by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported population-based data on confirmed flu cases in children younger than 5 years old in three counties in Ohio, New York and Tennessee. More than 8,000 children seen in inpatient, emergency department and clinic settings were included during five flu seasons from 2004 through 2009.

During the study period, the researchers found that the overall flu vaccination coverage changed little, whereas the rates of influenza hospitalization and prevalence of influenza among outpatients varied annually. The proportion of infants less than 6 months old diagnosed with flu increased to 48 percent as compared to 28 percent in a previous study (2000 -- 2004) conducted by the research team.

However, for children between ages 6 months to 5 years, the proportion diagnosed with the flu remained similar in both studies. These data suggest that doctors' awareness of the flu among young infants has increased, but hasn't among older children.

The study also showed that seasonal flu remains an important cause of hospitalization, emergency department and outpatient visits among children and that the use of tools known to reduce flu rates -- vaccination and antiviral medications -- were underused, Poehling said.

Additional efforts are needed for greater dissemination and use of the existing recommendation for vaccination of children six months and older and of pregnant women, which partially protects younger infants. Also needed are the development and dissemination of evidence-based guidelines for laboratory testing and therapeutic options, including antiviral medications.

Funding for the study was primarily provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, Poehling received research support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grant RO1AI079226, and the Wachovia research Fund.

Co-authors are Kathryn Edwards, M.D., Marie Griffin, M.D., and Yuwei Zhu, M.D., of Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Peter Szilagyi, M.D., Caroline Hall, M.D., Geoffrey Weinberg, M.D., of University of Rochester Schools of Medicine and Dentistry; Mary Staat, M.D., Monica McNeal, M.S., of University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; Beverly Snively, Ph.D., Cynthia Suerken, M.S., of Wake Forest Baptist; Sandra C. Chaves, M.D., Carolyn Bridges, M.D., and Marika Iwane, Ph.D., of National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. A. Poehling, K. M. Edwards, M. R. Griffin, P. G. Szilagyi, M. A. Staat, M. K. Iwane, B. M. Snively, C. K. Suerken, C. B. Hall, G. A. Weinberg, S. S. Chaves, Y. Zhu, M. M. McNeal, C. B. Bridges. The Burden of Influenza in Young Children, 2004-2009. PEDIATRICS, 2013; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-1255

Cite This Page:

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "Flu vaccine rates in children remain lower than expected, despite recommendations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110212121.htm>.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. (2013, January 10). Flu vaccine rates in children remain lower than expected, despite recommendations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110212121.htm
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "Flu vaccine rates in children remain lower than expected, despite recommendations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110212121.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins