Routine Immunization Reduces Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in Children

Routine immunization for children aged 10 years or younger reduces the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases.

The researchers in a new study sought to characterize the public health impact of vaccination for children aged 10 years or younger. According to recent data, routine immunizations covered 14 vaccine-preventable diseases in 2019.

To better understand the impact of vaccinations in children, the researchers used pre-vaccine published data, or calculated the data using annual case estimates from the pre-vaccine periods and US population estimates during the same period. Vaccine-era incidence was calculated as the average incidence over the most recent 5 years of available surveillance data. If data was unavailable, the researchers used published estimates.

The results indicated that routine immunization reduced the incidence of all targeted diseases. From the data, the researchers found that routine immunizations led to reductions in incidence ranging from 17% (influenza) to 100% (diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type b, measles, mumps, polio, and rubella).

In 2019, of the 328 million people that made up the total US population, incidence reductions equated to more than 24 million cases of vaccine-preventable diseases averted. Influenza and Streptococcus pneumoniae-related acute otitis media remained the highest in vaccine-era disease incidence estimates (13,412/100,000, 2756/100,00, respectively).

“Routine childhood immunization in the US continues to yield considerable sustained reductions in incidence across all targeted diseases,” the researchers concluded. “Efforts to maintain and improve vaccination coverage are necessary to continue experiencing low incidence levels of vaccine-preventable diseases.”


—Jessica Ganga


Talbird SE, Carrico J, La EM, et al. Impact of routine childhood immunization in reducing vaccine-preventable diseases in the US. Pediatrics. Published online July 13, 2022. doi:10.1542/peds.2021-056013.