OBJECTIVE:

Prevention of influenza among infants and young children is a public health priority because of their high risk for influenza-related complications. Depending on a child’s age and previous influenza vaccination history, they are recommended to receive either 1 dose or 2 doses of influenza vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated against influenza for the season. We compared estimates of full (complete) influenza vaccination coverage of children 6 to 23 months across 10 consecutive influenza seasons (2002–2012), by race/ethnicity, age group, and by number of doses required to be fully vaccinated given child’s vaccination history.

METHODS:

National Immunization Survey data were used to estimate full influenza vaccination status among children 6 to 23 months on the basis of provider report. Estimates were computed by using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis methods.

RESULTS:

Full influenza vaccination coverage among children 6 to 23 months increased from 4.8% in the 2002–2003 influenza season to 44.7% in the 2011–2012 season. In all 10 influenza seasons studied, non-Hispanic black children and Hispanic children had lower full influenza vaccination coverage than non-Hispanic white children. For all 10 influenza seasons, full influenza vaccination coverage was higher among children requiring only 1 dose compared with those requiring 2 doses.

CONCLUSIONS:

Less than half of children 6 to 23 months in the United States, and an even a smaller percentage of Hispanic and non-Hispanic black children, are fully vaccinated against influenza. More implementation of evidence-based strategies that increase the percentage of children who are fully vaccinated is needed.

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