Influenza Vaccination Strategies Should Target Children

Public Health Ethics
Volume 11, Issue 2, 1 July 2018
Special Symposium on Public Mental Health Ethics

Influenza Vaccination Strategies Should Target Children
Ben Bambery; Thomas Douglas; Michael J Selgelid; Hannah Maslen; Alberto Giubilini
Public Health Ethics, Volume 11, Issue 2, 1 July 2018, Pages 221–234,
Strategies to increase influenza vaccination rates have typically targeted healthcare professionals (HCPs) and individuals in various high-risk groups such as the elderly. We argue that they should (instead or as well) focus on increasing vaccination rates in children. Because children suffer higher influenza incidence rates than any other demographic group, and are major drivers of seasonal influenza epidemics, we argue that influenza vaccination strategies that serve to increase uptake rates in children are likely to be more effective in reducing influenza-related morbidity and mortality than those targeting HCPs or the elderly. This is true even though influenza-related morbidity and mortality amongst children are low, except in the very young. Further, we argue that there are no decisive reasons to suppose that children-focused strategies are less ethically acceptable than elderly or HCP-focused strategies.