Pediatric deaths from flu were more likely in children who hadn’t received vaccinations compared to children who had, reports Medscape. 

The investigators used three comparison cohorts: NIS-Flu, the National Health Interview Survey, and the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database.

During the study period, vaccination status was determined for 291 of 358 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric deaths. Of those, 75 (26%) received seasonal influenza vaccination at least 14 days before they became ill. Vaccine type was known for 62 cases: 12 (19%) children received live-attenuated influenza vaccine and 50 (81%) received inactivated influenza vaccines.

In contrast, overall vaccination coverage was 48% among the NIS-Flu cohorts.

The researchers estimate that vaccine effectiveness against pediatric death was 65% (95% confidence interval [CI], 54% – 74%).

Vaccine effectiveness ranged from 54% during the 2010 to 2011 season to 80% during the mild 2011 to 2012 season, when the number of pediatric deaths was the lowest.