Flu Vaccine Triples Child Hospitalizations, but Won’t Turn Them into Horned, Hairy Apes, say Experts!
Okay, maybe I made up the last part of that headline.
The real facts however, are bad enough. According to new research to be presented at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society on May 19th in San Diego, CA, researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota “found that children who had received the flu vaccine had three times the risk of hospitalization, as compared to children who had not received the vaccine.” (“Children Who Get Flu Vaccine Have Three Times Risk of Hospitalization For Flu, Study Suggests”, Science Daily, May 20, 2009)
The same pattern was reported in asthmatics. Maybe I missed the importance of these factors, but the report also noted “no other factor-such as insurance plans or severity of asthma-appeared to affect risk of hospitalization.” Okay, so I take this to mean that despite whether or not you had insurance, your child still had an increased risk of hospitalization if they got a flu shot. I guess that means this can’t be blamed on all those parents with generous health plans putting their kids in the hospital so mom and dad can get a “date night.”
Or if you’re a parent of a child with asthma it means you're going to be making more trips to the hospital, regardless of whether your child has mild or severe asthma. It's all so much more democratic! Although I don't know how you're supposed to take this in light of previous studies which have shown "the concerns that vaccination my be associated with asthma exacerbations have been disproved with multiple studies in the past." I'm not sure, but I'm thinking, maybe the folks at the Mayo Clinic came up with a better designed study.
As most people are aware, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend annual influenza vaccination for all children aged six months to 18 years. I’m curious how these organizations will respond to this new report. I’m guessing they won’t suggest any changes to their recommendations.
And I bet there won’t be a single news organization which accuses them of being “anti-science.”
Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor of Age of Autism