Sunday Herald Sun March 29, 2009
EVERY Australian child would be vaccinated against the flu under a plan being proposed by leading infant health experts. The push comes after a trial of pediatric influenza vaccinations reduced hospitalisations for flu in under-5s by almost 90 per cent. And it follows new data showing flu rates in children under two are now seven times higher than for the elderly. The immunisation trial, carried out in Western Australia, was the first in Australia.
The results, released during the week, showed two doses of the vaccine were 88 per cent effective at preventing hospital admission with an influenza-related condition in those younger than five years. And laboratory-confirmed influenza among young children was almost halved in flu season compared with the previous year, the 2008 trial showed. Royal Children’s Hospital pediatric infectious diseases physician Jim Buttery said the trial indicated parents were receptive to the benefits of an influenza vaccination.