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Child Vaccination Cuts Flu-related Hospitalization by 54%

Child Vaccination Cuts Flu-related Hospitalization by 54%

January 24, 2020

Medical Research

The Jerusalem Post – Fully vaccinating children reduces the risk of hospitalization for complications associated with influenza by 54%, according to a new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Clalit Research Institute in Israel and the University of Michigan.

The research was conducted by Prof. Mark Katz of BGU’s Department of Health Systems Management, Faculty of Health Sciences and a senior researcher at the Clalit Institute of General Research, and Dr. Hannah Segaloff, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.

The new study is being used to encourage parents to fully vaccinate their children.

Prof. Katz said that “young children are at high risk of hospitalization due to influenza complications. Children with underlying illnesses such as asthma and heart disease have an even greater risk of complications. It is important to prevent influenza infections in these at-risk groups.”

Published in December 2019 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, the study is one of the few in the world that has tested the effectiveness of childhood vaccination against influenza and the risk of hospitalization.

The study not only shows that the flu vaccine can reduce children’s hospitalization by more than half, but it also confirms the guidelines in both Israel and the United States that recommend two vaccine doses for children up to age eight who have never been vaccinated or who previously received one dose.

“Children vaccinated according to government guidelines are much better protected from influenza than those who only receive one vaccine,” said Segaloff.

“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 strain is circulating,” she added.

The researchers hope that the study will impact parents’ decisions on whether to vaccinate their children. Earlier this month, another study found while the flu vaccine was offered to about 300,000 children in grades second to fourth, 60% of parents throughout Israel refused the vaccine.

Those studies come after several people have died and many were hospitalized from complications caused by the flu. As of January 7, the death toll in Israel was estimated to be 18 people.

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