Routine Pneumococcal Vaccination Linked to Fewer Medical Visits in Kids Under 2
Healthcare visits and expenditures due to pneumonia in children under age 2 have declined markedly since routine pneumococcal vaccination was implemented in that age group, reports Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
Researchers reviewed health records from a large database of self-insured employers across the U.S. Data on approximately 77,000 children younger than 2 years were available each year from 1997 through 2004. Among the findings:
- From the prevaccination period (1997–1999) to 2004, hospitalization of children for all-cause pneumonia and pneumococcal pneumonia dropped by 52% and 58%, respectively.
- Ambulatory visits for all-cause pneumonia fell by 41%, while visits for pneumococcal pneumonia decreased by 47%.
- Estimated national annual medical expenditures for all-cause pneumonia and pneumococcal pneumonia dropped by 45% and 27%, respectively.
The authors conclude: "The decline in disease ... highlights the further health and economic benefits of [the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine] in young children in the United States."