Flu vaccine prevents hospitalization in children

November 17, 2017, Public Health Ontario
influenza
Electron microscopy of influenza virus. Credit: CDC

Children vaccinated against influenza are significantly less likely to experience serious complications from the virus that could land them in hospital, new research from Public Health Ontario (PHO) and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) has found.

Published in the Nov. 17 issue of PLOS ONE, the study found that young children who were fully vaccinated against influenza saw their risk of hospitalization due to influenza infection drop by 60 per cent overall. Even for children partially vaccinated against influenza (i.e., those who received one dose of influenza during their first ), risk of hospitalization due to influenza dropped by 39 per cent.

"Influenza can cause serious illness, especially in , but there hasn't been a lot of research that has examined the magnitude of the influenza vaccine's effectiveness at preventing kids from getting really sick and being hospitalized," says Dr. Jeff Kwong, a scientist in Applied Immunization Research and Evaluation at PHO and a senior scientist at ICES. Dr. Kwong is the senior author of the research paper.

"This research paper helps fill that gap by showing how effective the can be at protecting young kids against serious complications from influenza infections," adds Dr. Kwong.

The researchers examined nearly 10,000 Ontario hospital records of children aged six months to under five years where a respiratory specimen was collected and tested for influenza; 12.8 per cent showed lab-confirmed influenza. The scientists included four influenza seasons - 2010-11 to 2013-14 - and broke the data down to compare children who were fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated and those who didn't get the vaccine. They also compared variations by age group and the circulating each season.

Overall, fully vaccinated aged two- to four-years-old saw their risk of hospitalization due to influenza drop by 67 per cent while those aged six to 23 months saw their risk drop by 48 per cent.

"These results show that flu vaccines are effective at preventing hospitalizations in young kids, and this extended to those who received their vaccination in two consecutive seasons. This contributes to the evidence that this group should be receiving their seasonal vaccine annually to prevent such serious outcomes," says Sarah Buchan, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto and the study's lead author.

Explore further: Annual influenza vaccination does not prevent natural immunity

Related Stories

Annual influenza vaccination does not prevent natural immunity

November 14, 2017
Earlier studies have suggested that having repeated annual influenza vaccination can prevent natural immunity to the virus, and potentially increase the susceptibility to influenza illness in the event of a pandemic, or when ...

Live attenuated flu vaccine not effective for children in 2015-16

August 10, 2017
(HealthDay)—During the 2015 to 2016 season, influenza vaccines reduced the risk of influenza illness, but the live attenuated vaccine was ineffective among children 2 to 17 years of age, according to a study published in ...

Disparities in influenza outcomes

October 31, 2017
Influenza infections kill between 3,000 and 49,000 people each year in the United States. Understanding risk factors for severe influenza outcomes, such as hospitalization, can help guide vaccination programs and reduce disease ...

Flu vaccine rates for kids may drop when the nasal spray vaccine is unavailable

August 24, 2017
Influenza vaccination rates in children may have decreased for the 2016-17 influenza season because of a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the nasal spray version of the vaccine not ...

No change in flu shot rates for children from '15-16 to '16-17

October 9, 2017
(HealthDay)—Children who received an injectable influenza vaccine (IIV) in 2015-2016 were only slightly more likely than those receiving live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) to return the following season for an IIV, ...

Experts say flu season could be severe this year

September 22, 2017
If last year's active flu season and this year's severe season in the Southern Hemisphere is any indication of what flu season will look like across the country beginning this fall, then it's important to get vaccinated soon ...

Recommended for you

Why men might recover from flu faster than women

July 17, 2018
Men may recover more quickly from influenza infections because they produce more of a key lung-healing protein, a study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests.

Broadly acting antibodies found in plasma of Ebola survivors

July 17, 2018
Recent Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreaks, including the 2013-2016 epidemic that ravaged West Africa and the 2018 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, highlight the need for licensed treatments for this often-deadly ...

Hidden blood in feces may signal deadly conditions

July 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Even if it's not visible to the naked eye, blood in the stool can be serious—a sign of a potentially fatal disease other than colon cancer, new research suggests.

Scientists a step closer to predicting epidemics

July 13, 2018
Ecologists at the University of Georgia have taken an important step in their efforts to develop an early warning system for infectious disease outbreaks.

Researchers identify target for novel malaria vaccine

July 13, 2018
A Yale-led team of researchers have created a vaccine that protects against malaria infection in mouse models, paving the way for the development of a human vaccine that works by targeting the specific protein that parasites ...

Higher income and being married protect older people from broken bones

July 13, 2018
Research led by scientists from the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (MRC LEU) at the University of Southampton has shown that a higher income and being married reduces the risk of experiencing a broken ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.