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Seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness in pre- and full-term children aged 6–23 months over multiple seasons

Shen S, Campitelli MA, Calzavara A, Guttmann A, Kwong JC. Vaccine. 2013; 31(29):2974-8. Epub 2013 May 18.

Introduction — This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccine in pre- and full-term children aged 6–23 months.

Methods — The authors examined a cohort of 683,354 young children (7.7% preterm) over five influenza seasons (2004–2005 to 2008–2009) in Ontario, Canada. Vaccine effectiveness was estimated using influenza-coded ambulatory visits during virologically-confirmed influenza season periods as the outcome and multivariable Cox proportional hazards modeling.

Results — Full vaccination was associated with a 19% reduction in influenza-coded ambulatory visits(HR = 0.81; 95% CI, 0.68–0.97) in all children, and an 18% reduction in full-term children (HR = 0.82; 95% CI,0.68–0.99). The authors did not find significant vaccine effectiveness for preterm children. No benefit was found for partial vaccination.

Conclusions — In children younger than two years, only full influenza vaccination is associated with reduced influenza-coded ambulatory visits. Since the effectiveness of influenza vaccination in preterm children remains uncertain, further study of this highly vulnerable population is warranted.

Keywords: Childhood diseases Vaccination Influenza