A new study suggests that vaccinating young children against the flu significantly reduces emergency room visits. After comparing the number of children that visited ER departments at Montreal’s Children’s Hospital and the Children Hospital in Boston, researchers found a correlation between children receiving the flu shot and the number of ER visits.
The study looked at the rate of emergency room visits by young children in Montreal, Quebec where vaccinating young children against the flu was not recommended. It also compared the rate of ER visits in young children in Boston both before flu vaccines were recommended, and then after the United States adopted a policy of recommending the flu vaccine for children between the ages of two and five. After the new age recommendation went into effect, the Boston hospital’s flu related visits by children dropped by 34% compared to the ER rates before the recommendation and the ER rates of the Montreal hospital. There were also smaller declines in emergency room visits for children over five years, which indicates that younger siblings were not spreading the flu within a home because they were vaccinated.
While the study was not conclusive, it does strongly suggest that the flu vaccine plays a key role in preventing the flu and ER visits because of infection. In Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization is recommending that children aged two to four received he flu vaccine this year, but not all provinces have adopted this as policy.
Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal