A Mayo Clinic study shows that kids who got the flu shot–especially those with asthma– are 3 times as likely to require hospitalization as those who did not receive the shot.
All kids in the study had lab-confirmed influenza, but the ones who got the shot ended up at the hospital more. And not because they had better health insurance, either.
As you may know, the CDC now recommends that all children, up to age 18, receive the flu vaccine. Because, as a Harvard study showed last year, kids carry germs. Adults who live in a population more concentrated with kids are more likely to get sick.
Get the flu shot; don’t mind the mercury.
While everyone is waiting impatiently (or quite patiently, in my case) for the swine flu vaccine, there is something y’all should know: the seasonal flu vaccine isn’t all that effective. And for kids, it just might increase the chances that you get a bonus trip to the hospital.
For the flu season of 2007-2008, the flu vaccine was a bust. If you got the shot, you were just as likely to get the flu as those who opted out. The same Harris Poll that showed that data also showed that for the previous three winters,
People receiving flu vaccines were 33 percent, 43 percent and 24 percent less likely to get the flu than people who did not get flu shots.
Ouch. Back to the Mayo Clinic study. It was a relatively small sampling (263 kids aged 6 months to 18 years), looking to see whether asthmatics have a harder time with the shot. Though the results look pretty conclusive, researcher Dr. Avni Joshi said of the outcome:
While these findings do raise questions about the efficacy of the vaccine, they do not in fact implicate it as a cause of hospitalizations…
The concerns that vaccination maybe associated with asthma exacerbations have been disproved with multiple studies in the past, but the vaccine’s effectiveness has not been well-established.
Yeah. Though my kids definitely carry germs, I don’t think I’ll be lining them up for a dose of mercury flu shot anytime soon.
Image: ad-vantage on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.