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Study: Flu shots keep families from losing wages

flu shot
Flu shots are a precaution some children don't like  

November 12, 1998
Web posted at: 7:55 p.m. EST (0055 GMT)

From Reporter Louise Schiavone

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vaccinating kids against flu can protect families against agony, inconvenience -- and lost wages.

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond found that flu shots for all school-age children would save society about $35 per child -- money saved when working parents don't have to forsake a day's wages to care for a sick child.

The VCU researchers based their findings on the facts that about 45 percent of all school-age children catch the flu every year; each unvaccinated child accounts for one day of flu-related school absence; and about 75 percent of households have two working parents, one of whom takes off work to care for a sick child.

"It does make a lot of sense that if you reduce the amount of illness in schoolchildren and the parents are not having to stay home,... the costs will certainly go down," says Dr. Sylvia Larkin of Innova Fairfax Hospital for Children.

Researchers estimate that flu vaccine is 56 percent effective in preventing flu-related lost school days. The American Academy of Pediatrics says the vaccine is generally safe for all healthy children and particularly recommends shots for those prone to respiratory illness, immune disorders, diabetes and other chronic ailments.

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