The above headline comes from Science Daily on May 20, 2009. The ensuing article reports on research presented at the International Conference of the American Thoracic Society that stated that children who get the flu vaccine are more at risk for hospitalization than those children who do not.
In this study researchers followed 263 children ages 6 months to 18 years, who were evaluated at the Mayo Clinic and had laboratory-confirmed influenza between 1996 to 2006. The researchers determined who received the flu vaccine and who did not. They then looked at their asthma status and who did and did not require hospitalization. The records were reviewed for each child with influenza-related illness to see if they had the flu vaccination preceding the illness and if they required hospitalization during that illness.
The researchers 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.
Avni Joshi, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, responded in the Science Daily article by noting, "The concerns that vaccination may be associated with asthma exacerbations have been disproved with multiple studies in the past, but the vaccine's effectiveness has not been well-established." Dr. Joshi, continued, "This study was aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of the TIV (vaccine) in children overall, as well as the children with asthma, to prevent influenza-related hospitalization." He continued by explaining that this study does not mean that the cause of the hospitalizations was the vaccine, "While these findings do raise questions about the efficacy of the vaccine, they do not in fact implicate it as a cause of hospitalizations."