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Vaccination Tied to Reduced Risk of Flu-Linked Pediatric Death

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

toddler getting vaccine

MONDAY, April 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Influenza vaccination is associated with reduced risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated death in children, with overall vaccine effectiveness of 65 percent, according to research published online April 3 in Pediatrics.

Brendan Flannery, Ph.D., 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 percent received vaccine before onset of illness. In the survey cohorts, the average vaccination coverage was 48 percent. The overall vaccine effectiveness against death was 65 percent. Of 153 deaths in children with underlying high-risk medical conditions, 31 percent were vaccinated. Among children with high-risk conditions, vaccine effectiveness was 51 percent, compared with 65 percent 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."

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