Child hospitalization dips following flu shot requirement

Three years after Connecticut began requiring the 55,000 children in licensed day cares to get the flu shot, influenza-associated hospitalization has decreased by 12 percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Only Connecticut and New Jersey require children attending a day care facility to get the flu vaccine. New York City is the only reported municipality with the requirement, the federal agency reported last week. All 50 states require various immunizations against different diseases.

Flu vaccination rates in Connecticut during the 2009-10 flu season — the last season before the law went into effect — increased from 68 percent to 84 percent during the 2012-13 flu season. Of the day care centers surveyed, 5 percent of children enrolled were listed as exempt from the flu shot for either religious or medical reasons.

Among 11 sites surveyed by the CDC, Connecticut had the greatest percentage decrease in the influenza-associated hospitalization rate from 2007-08 among children age four and younger.

“Requiring vaccination for child care admission [for child care] might have helped to increase vaccination rates in Connecticut and reduced serious morbidity from influenza,” the CDC reports.

While immunization rates increased faster than the national increase, the CDC noted, “The difference is not statistically significant.”