Pre-school children are at risk for severe influenza infections; especially those in child care, where the risk of acquisition is greater. To protect against influenza in this setting, the state of Connecticut passed a law in September 2010 requiring all children between 6 months and 5 years of age who attend licensed preschool or child care facility in the state to receive at least one dose of influenza vaccine each year. Connecticut became the second state – after New Jersey – to implement this policy.

After the regulation was put in place, immunization rates among Connecticut children between 6 months and 5 years of age increased from 67.8 percent during the 2009-2010 season to 84.1 percent during the 2012-2013 season. Among 11 Emerging Infections Program (EIP) sites surveyed, Connecticut had the greatest percentage increase among children ≤ 4 years of age (Hadler JL, Yousey-Hindez K, Kudish K, et al. Impact of requiring influenza vaccination for children in licensed child care or preschool programs—Connecticut, 2012-2013 influenza season. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014 Mar 7;63(9):181-5.).

Connecticut’s action lessened the incidence of influenza disease among young children in their state. During the 2007-2008 influenza season, Connecticut was third highest in its incidence of influenza-associated hospitalizations in children ≤ 4 years of age (58.6 per 100,000). During the 2012-2013 season, Connecticut dropped to seventh among states (51.5 per 100,000) and was one of only two states to record a decrease in incidence (12 percent) among children in that age group. Maryland was the other, with a 6 percent decrease.

Not surprisingly, greater immunization rates led to less hospitalization and suffering.

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

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