More than 50% of children aged 6 to 23 months are not fully vaccinated against influenza, according to recent research in Pediatrics.
“Depending on a child’s age and previous influenza vaccination history, they are recommended to receive either one dose or two doses of influenza vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated against influenza for the season,” Tammy A. Santibanez, PhD, of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, and colleagues wrote. “Less than half of children aged 6 to 23 months in the United States are fully vaccinated against influenza, and even a smaller percentage of Hispanic and non-Hispanic black children.”
Tammy A. Santibanez
The researchers utilized National Immunization Survey data to study the influenza immunization status of the study population during 10 influenza seasons from 2002 through 2012. Statistical analysis was performed to estimate the number of children who received at least one dose of influenza vaccine during an influenza season. Data showed that full vaccination rates of children in the study increased from 4.8% (2002-2003 season) to 44.7% (2011-2012 season). Despite this increase, the proportion of Hispanic (40.2%) and non-Hispanic black children (35.3%) who were fully vaccinated in 2012 was lower than the overall proportion. Further, those ethnicities had lower full vaccination coverage than non-Hispanic white children for each influenza season.
The researchers also found that full vaccination coverage was higher among children who only required one dose of influenza vaccine, across all seasons.
“Appropriate implementation of evidence-based strategies is needed to increase the percentage of children who are fully vaccinated,” Santibanez and colleagues wrote. “Prevention of influenza among infants and young children is a public health priority because of their high risk for influenza-related complications.” – by David Costill
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.