Mortality rates rise when children aren’t vaccinated

Reichert TA et al. N Engl J Med. 2001 Mar 22;344(12):889-96. 

While mortality rates from influenza and its complications have remained relatively stable over 40 years in the United States, the situation is markedly different in Japan. From 1962-1987 most of the children in Japan were vaccinated against influenza and influenza mortality rates for these years were similar to those in the US. From 1987-1994 the Japanese vaccination policy was relaxed and as a result the childhood vaccination coverage rate dropped. During these years a significant increase in influenza mortality was observed, and mortality rates in these years were greater than those in the US. During the period when herd immunity existed in the population, one case of death from influenza and its complications was prevented for every 420 children vaccinated. The authors concluded that influenza affected mortality in Japan to a greater degree than in the US and that vaccination of children can protect adults in the population from influenza-related mortality.