Study: Pneumonia vaccine cuts child hospitalizations

A new study has found that immunizing infants with pneumococcal conjugate vaccine has had a dramatic impact on U.S. pneumonia admissions for kids under age two. To conduct their analysis, researchers at Vanderbilt University analyzed data on pneumonia hospitalizations for children aged 2 years and younger from 1997 to 1999 and 2001 to 2004, drawn from CDC data. The researchers found that infant immunizations cut under-two pneumonia hospitalizations by 39 percent. Interestingly, the effect apparently radiated out to adults, who saw a similar drop in hospital admissions for pneumonia. The researchers attributed the drop in adult hospitalizations to the "herd immunity effect," in which the adults enjoy the benefits of having healthier offspring. Researchers said that this effect is likely to be even more dramatic in less-developed countries, where pneumonia often results in child deaths.

To find out more about the study:
- read this United Press International article