Study: Expanding Flu Vaccination for Older Children Could Reduce ER Visits by 34%

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Vaccinating children aged two to four years against seasonal influenza resulted in a 34 percent decline in emergency visits for flu-like illnesses, according to research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

In 2006, the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices expanded its recommendations to give the seasonal flu vaccine to children beyond the current target group of 6 months to 23 months of age. Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization did not make such a recommendation.


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Researchers from Boston's Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School and McGill University and the Montreal Public Health Department in Canada evaluated the impact of the U.S. policy on influenza-related visits to the emergency department at the Children's Hospital Boston compared with Montreal Children's Hospital from 2000-2008.

Of the more than 1 million emergency department visits at both hospitals for all causes, 114,657 were because of influenza-like illnesses. The researchers found a 34 percent decrease in influenza-related emergency visits among children ages two to four years old at Children's Hospital, compared to Montreal Children's Hospital.

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