Influenza vaccination was associated with reduced risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated death in children, a case-cohort analysis found.

“These results support current recommendations for annual influenza vaccination for all children 6 months of age” and older, wrote Brendan Flannery, PhD, and his coauthors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta. “To our knowledge, this is the first study to use laboratory-confirmed outcomes to investigate influenza vaccine effectiveness against influenza-associated deaths.”

“Best estimates based on [National Health Interview Survey] data suggested that vaccination reduced the risk of influenza-associated death by half among children with high-risk conditions and by nearly two-thirds among children without high-risk conditions,” Dr. Flannery and his coauthors reported.

Of 358 cases of pediatric death (aged 6 months to 17 years) confirmed to be associated with influenza, 75 (26%) had been vaccinated prior to their disease onset. The case-cohort analysis compared the 358 cases against three cohorts of U.S. children and adolescents: a telephone survey, a household survey, and a health insurance claims database.

The researchers had examined cases that were reported to the U.S. Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality Surveillance System from July 2010 to June 2014. They excluded cases of children not yet eligible to be vaccinated or whose disease onset may have occurred before their vaccine had 14 days to take full effect (Pediatrics. 2017 Apr. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-4244).


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