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Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition Encourages Vaccination Throughout the Influenza Season
Date:11/27/2007

escents from influenza by communicating with "one strong voice" the need to make influenza immunization a national health priority.

Influenza: Serious but Preventable

Each year, influenza causes approximately 20,000 hospitalizations and nearly 100 deaths in children younger than 5 years of age. Only 20.6 percent of children 6 to 23 months of age were fully immunized for influenza during the 2005-2006 season, even though the CDC recommends that all of these children be vaccinated.

In addition to protecting children from influenza and its serious complications, annual vaccination also protects communities and high risk individuals, such as those with asthma and diabetes, since the influenza virus spreads easily from children to others. Young children may be contagious for longer periods than adults and, like adults, can spread the virus for at least one day before their symptoms occur. Children may also be less likely to wash their hands frequently and "cover their coughs."

About Current Influenza Vaccination Recommendations

To protect children from influenza, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual vaccination of all children 6 months up to 5 years of age. Vaccination is also recommended for any child at least 6 months of age with a compromised immune system and certain underlying medical conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, heart disease, immune deficiency). In addition, vaccination is recommended for close contacts of any of these children, and for anyone who lives with or cares for infants 0 to 6 months of age since this is the only way to prevent influenza in these infants. These very young infants are more likely to be hospitalized if they contract influenza than even the elderly.

Women who are pregnant are at increased risk for hospitalization should they develop influenza, and they should be vaccinated to protect themselves from influenza and to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. In
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SOURCE Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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