Fully vaccinating children reduces the risk of hospitalization associated with influenza by 54 percent, according to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, the Clalit Research Institute, and Ben-Gurion University in Israel.
The study, published in the December 2019 issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Disease, is one of the few studies worldwide that has tested the effectiveness of childhood vaccination against influenza and risk of hospitalization due to influenza complications.
In Israel, as in the United States, government guidelines recommend that children 8 or younger who have never been vaccinated, or who have only gotten one dose of flu vaccine previously, should receive two doses of vaccine.
Children vaccinated according to government guidelines are much better protected from influenza than those who only receive one vaccine, said Ms. Hannah Segaloff, a research fellow at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and lead author of the study.
“Over half of our study population had underlying conditions that may put them at high risk for severe influenza-related complications, so preventing influenza in this group is critically important,” she said. “Our results also showed that the vaccine was effective in three different seasons with different circulating viruses, reinforcing the importance of getting an influenza vaccine every year no matter what virus is circulating.”
The retrospective study used data from Clalit Health Services, the largest health fund in Israel, to review the vaccination data of 3,746 hospitalizations of children 6 months to 8 years old at six hospitals in Israel. They were tested for influenza over three winter seasons 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on January 31