WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

MMR vaccine connected to lower rate of hospital admissions

Vaccination with the live measles, mumps and rubella vaccine after vaccination for other common infections was associated with a lower rate of infection-related hospital admissions, according to a study published on Wednesday in JAMA.

A group of Danish researchers examined whether the live MMR vaccine was associated with lower rates of hospital admissions for infections among children in Denmark. The team found the children receiving the live MMR vaccine after vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b had a lower rate of hospital admissions for any infection. There was an even stronger association between vaccination and both a lower rate of respiratory tract infections and fewer long hospital admissions.

Children who received MMR first and the other vaccines afterward had a higher rate of infectious disease admission.

"The coverage with MMR is suboptimal in many high-income countries; in the present study, about 50 percent of children were not vaccinated on time," the study's authors said. "Physicians should encourage parents to have children vaccinated on time with MMR and avoid giving vaccinations out of sequence, because the present study suggests that timely MMR vaccination averted a considerable number of hospital admissions for any infection between ages 16 and 24 months."

While childhood vaccines are recommended worldwide, studies from low-income countries show that vaccines may have nonspecific effects that reduce illness and death from non-targeted diseases. Such effects could be important for the health of children in high-income settings as well.