Vanderbilt Children's Hospital Research on the Flu in Children Resulted in New Vaccination Recommendations
The study that led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to change its recommendations for giving flu shots to children is published in the July 6 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. The recommendations went into effect in February.
Lead author, Katherine Poehling, MD, assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, says a four-year study of children seen in pediatrician's offices and children's hospitals, including Vanderbilt Children's, proved the flu has a tremendous impact on all children up to 5 years old.
The flu was confirmed by nasal swab in 160 of the more than 3,300 children who had respiratory symptoms. While younger children accounted for most of the hospitalizations — 80 percent were under 2 years old — the most surprising finding was that outpatient visits associated with the flu were up to 250 times more common than hospitalizations.
The data on the burden of influenza in young children led the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to recommend that the CDC advise flu vaccinations for all children 6 months to 5 years.