Flu vaccine cut childrens' hospital stays, ED visits by as much as 60%, study finds

The 2018-19 influenza vaccine reduced flu-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits among children by 40 percent to 60 percent, a new study shows.

Published in the journal Pediatrics, the study estimated vaccine effectiveness against flu-related hospitalizations and ED visits among U.S. children. Researchers tested children 6 months to 17 years with the flu at seven pediatric hospitals.

Of 1,792 patients admitted to the hospital, 226 (13 percent) tested positive for the flu, and among 1,944 patients who came to the ED, 420 (22 percent) tested positive.

Vaccine effectiveness against any flu-related hospitalizations was 41 percent, and 51 percent against flu-related ED visits. Vaccine effectiveness increased to 61 percent against ED visits related to the A(H1N1)pdm09 strain of the flu, which was initially predominant during the 2018-19 season.

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