07 Nov Childhood Pneumococcal Vaccine Linked To Sharp Decline In Hospitalizations
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Griffin: In Tennessee, the introduction in 2010 of a new pneumococcal vaccine for infants and young children was associated with a 27 percent decline in pneumonia hospital admissions across the state among children under age 2. The recent decline in Tennessee comes on top of an earlier 43 percent decline across the United States associated with the introduction in 2000 of the first pneumococcal vaccine for children under 2 years of age.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Griffin: Pneumococcus (streptococcus pneumoniae) is considered a leading cause of childhood pneumonia. The earlier vaccine (7-valent pneumococcal conjugated vaccine) provided protection against the seven most common strains of the bacterium, while the newer vaccine protects against 13 strains. Use of these vaccines have dramatically reduced the risk for serious pneumonia in young children.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Griffin: The data come from the Tennessee Hospital Discharge Data System, which records data (including diagnosis and procedure codes) from hospitalizations and emergency department visits from all non-federal hospitals in Tennessee. There’s a push for public health practitioners to use data to describe what’s happening locally, and then to react to those data to improve health. Now that these data are available electronically, we should be able to monitor disease trends in a timely way. This should help determine other ways to continue to lower the risk of pneumonia.