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More Young Children Getting Flu Vaccine

The proportion of children under age 5 getting flu vaccine each year increased sharply after the vaccine was recommended for all children, a study shows. But more than half of the children still were not getting the vaccine. The study focused on children ages 6 months to 59 months in a Tennessee county. In the flu season that started in 2000, about 6% of this group got the vaccine. In 2010, that increased to 38%. Hospital stays and emergency room visits varied greatly from year to year. Overall, the number of hospital stays for flu per 10,000 children declined. But when researchers excluded the peak year of 2003-2004, this trend was small enough that it could have been caused by chance. The number of emergency room visits tended to go up. The authors said neither of these trends was clearly related to increases in vaccination. The journal Pediatrics published the study December 8.

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