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Comment & Response
April 2014

The Importance of Influenza Vaccination

Author Affiliations
  • 1Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri
  • 2Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, Arlington, Virginia
  • 3Infectious Disease Society of America, Arlington, Virginia
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):644-645. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.11174

To the Editor We represent the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) and read with concern the commentary on influenza vaccines by Doshi.1 He contends that influenza is not a significant illness in frequency or severity and is easily prevented without vaccination. Data refute this claim, as in the last year alone, there were more than 12 000 hospitalizations and 153 pediatric deaths due to laboratory-confirmed influenza in the United States, with 90% of the pediatric deaths occurring in unvaccinated children.2 Vaccination is associated with decreases in influenza infections and their associated health care burden with an estimated 112 900 hospitalizations, 5.8 million medical visits, and 13.6 million illnesses averted from 2005 through 2011 in the United States.3

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