Children hospitalized with acute respiratory tract illness without up-to-date vaccinations had higher odds of receiving laboratory testing compared with children whose status was up to date, according to study results published in Pediatrics.

Medical records from children aged 0 to 16 years hospitalized with acute respiratory tract illness were retrospectively analyzed to determine which laboratory tests were received as a marker for resource usage. Patients were grouped based on whether their documented vaccination status was up to date. Resource usage was then compared between groups.

Among the 2302 participants (mean age, 3.5 years) included in analysis, 25% were diagnosed with pneumonia, 15% with croup, 28% with asthma, and 32% with bronchiolitis. Most of the children (92%) were up to date on their vaccinations. Independent of the diagnosed condition, children whose vaccination status was not up to date had higher odds of receiving a complete blood cell count, blood culture, C-reactive protein level testing, and influenza testing.

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The study authors wrote, “Not only does undervaccination place children at risk for [vaccine-preventable diseases] but also there is variation in care for common [acute respiratory tract illnesses], such as croup and pneumonia, by vaccination status, with higher use of diagnostic testing for children who are undervaccinated.”

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Bryan MA, Hofstetter AM, deHart MP, Simon TD, Opel DJ. Vaccination status and resource use during hospital visits for respiratory illnesses. Pediatrics. 2019;144(5):e20190585.