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Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2010 Jan;49(1):20-3. doi: 10.1177/0009922809351962.

Through with the flu: how free family and caregiver immunization protects sick neonates.

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University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock, AR 72005, USA.


Newborns represent the pediatric population most at risk for influenza-related morbidity and mortality, especially premature newborns and those with chronic disease. Compounding this problem is the fact that influenza immunizations are ineffective until 6 months of age. This article describes a successful program that follows the "cocoon" theory of immunization. Free influenza vaccines were given in the nursery to all family members, caregivers, and others living in the homes of discharged infants. Planning and implementation steps are described, along with lessons learned during implementation. The response to the program exceeded expectations, with 185 contacts immunized. Future plans include the expansion of the current program to include the H1N1 influenza vaccine and the Tdap vaccine. The described vaccination effort encourages and substantiates the benefits of cocoon immunization in other nurseries across the nation.

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