Healthcare News & Insights

Proof: Flu vaccines cut kids’ ER visits

Reducing the number of  kids’ visits to the ER is as simple as getting them vaccinated against the flu.

That’s the takeaway from a new study of two children’s hospitals in Boston and Montreal.

Researchers looked at emergency department visits at children’s hospitals in the two cities. The researchers were taking advantage of a policy change that set up a natural experiment for comparison: U.S. health officials had started recommending flu vaccinations for kids aged 2 through 4, while Canadian children that age were largely not getting vaccinated.

The study included data on nearly 115,000 children who visited the ERs of the two hospitals between 2000 and 2009. After the U.S. started recommending vaccinations for children in 2006, ER visits by children that age dropped 34%. Visits by older children with flu-like symptoms also dropped between 11%-18%.

The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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