The recent flu season has reportedly been especially difficult on people between the ages of 18 and 64. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), that is 61 percent of the total hospitalizations from influenza. In a report published in the March 7 issue the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, making flu vaccination for child care admission a requirement appears to have raised vaccination rates as well as led to significantly lower hospitalization rates for influenza in younger children.
The fact is that different states have different regulations. In New Haven, Connecticut, for example, James L. Hadler, M.D., from the Yale School of Public Health worked with a group of colleagues to test the effect of Connecticut’s 2010 regulation that all children between 6 and 59 months get a minimum of one dose of influenza vaccine every year in order to attend any licensed child care program. Data from both Connecticut and US surveys as well as the EIP (Emerging Infections Program) were studied. Additionally, they reviewed hospitalizations associated with influenza during the 2012-13 influenza season.
Hadler and his collaborators stated: “Requiring vaccination for child care admission might have helped to increasevaccination rates in Connecticut and reduced serious morbidity from influenza.” They discovered that once the regulation went into effect vaccination rates among children in Connecticut between 6 and 59 months rose from “67.8 percent in the 2009-10 influenza season to 84.1 percent in the 2012-13 season.”
After considering the details on all 11 EIP surveillance sites, the state of Connecticut had the highest percentage decrease–12 percent–in the “influenza-associated hospitalization rate among children” age 4 years and younger during the 2012-13 influenza season compared to the 2007-08 season. The reported ratio of the “influenza-associated hospitalization rates among children” age 4 years and younger compared to the total population rate–0.53–was also significantly lower in comparison to the other EIP sites.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that anyone over the age of six months should receive an annual flu shot. Nevertheless, nineteen states have what critics call “weaker policies” that permit parents to use a significantly unspecific “philosophical” exemption to all vaccines which is why over six percent of kindergartners in some states had not gotten vaccinations last year.
Various online sources indicate that some states have made this issue more of a problem. Another new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, between 2009 and 2012, three dozen different bills were introduced to alter school immunization requirements. Most of them would actually have made it even simpler for parents to avoid having their children vaccinated.
(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)