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60-Second Health

Flu Vaccine Keeps Connecticut Kids from Hospitals

After flu shot regulations upped Connecticut kids' vaccination rate, their hospitalization risk went down. Dina Fine Maron reports

 

Flu vaccination is proving itself among Connecticut’s tots.
 
In 2010 a state law went into effect that requires toddlers aged six months to 59 months to get flu shots if they attend child care. Similar rules for preschool soon followed. The new requirements boosted vaccination rates among Connecticut’s kids from 68 percent to 84 percent. And in the 2012–2013 flu season, flu-related hospitalizations among that group dropped by 12 percent. That’s the finding of a study in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. [James L. Hadler et al, Impact of Requiring Influenza Vaccination for Children in Licensed Child Care or Preschool Programs — Connecticut, 2012–13 Influenza Season]
 
The state had the biggest drop in flu hospitalizations of kids aged 4 and younger of 11 areas evaluated by the CDC.
 
All 50 states have some kinds of regulations for vaccinations among kids pre-school age. But so far, only New Jersey, Connecticut and New York City have green lighted such requirements for flu vaccinations.
 
With the flu shot apparently keeping so many kids out of the hospital, perhaps the other 48 states may consider it time to examine their own policies. A trip to the drug store for a vaccination beats a trip to the hospital any day.

—Dina Fine Maron

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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