Background: US recommendations for pediatric influenza vaccination have expanded significantly in recent years. However, limited data are available on influenza vaccine utilization by US pediatric providers.
Objectives: To describe US pediatric influenza vaccination during the previous 4 seasons.
Methods: Electronic healthcare reimbursement claims data representing more than 60% of all medical claims from the US outpatient setting were analyzed. Weekly counts of influenza vaccinations given to children 6 months through 18 years of age between August 1 and March 31 for the 2006–2007 through 2009–2010 seasons were projected to yield national estimates for all children with private insurance.
Results: From 2006–2007 through 2008–2009, vaccination began approximately 1 week earlier each season. In 2009–2010, seasonal vaccination began 4 weeks earlier. Seasonal vaccination peaked in November in 2006–2007 and 2007–2008, October in 2008–2009, and September in 2009–2010. In all seasons, vaccination dramatically declined in December. Total seasonal vaccinations increased from 7.2 million in 2006–2007 to 9.9 million in 2009–2010 (+38%). Among children 6–23 months of age, use of preservative-free injectable vaccine increased each year, to 58% of 2009–2010 vaccinations. Among children 2–18 years of age, use of the intranasal vaccine increased each year, to 34% of 2009–2010 vaccinations. In 2009, H1N1 vaccination began in early October, peaked in mid December 2009, and continued at lower levels through spring 2010.
Conclusions: Consistent with national recommendations, pediatric influenza vaccination has increased significantly in recent years. From 2006-2007 to 2009-2010, pediatric influenza vaccination began and peaked 1–4 weeks earlier each season. However, despite efforts to extend the vaccination season into later months, there was no evidence of increased late-season vaccination. Additional research is needed to identify barriers to late-season vaccination. Sponsored by MedImmune.