Flu vaccine safe in healthy infants
The trivalent influenza vaccine can be safely given to healthy children 6 to 24 months of age, doctors report in the journal Pediatrics.
“We see no indications of serious side effects from the influenza vaccine in young children, and we would urge parents to have their young children vaccinated against influenza,” Dr. Michael J. Goodman from HealthPartners Research Foundation, Minneapolis, Minnesota told Reuters Health.
“The whole reason this vaccine is now being recommended for infants and young children is that they can get quite sick with influenza,” Goodman explained. “Over the past few years, several studies have shown that the rate of hospitalization related to influenza for young children is similar to that for people over age 65.”
Goodman and colleagues investigated the safety of routine trivalent influenza vaccine administration among more than 13,000 healthy children 6 through 23 months of age.
There were no harmful effects significantly related to the first trivalent influenza vaccine injection, the authors report.
Pharyngitis (throat inflammation) occurred significantly more often after the second trivalent influenza vaccine injection in the series, but this injection also appeared to protect against sinusitis (sinus inflammation).
Exposure to either trivalent influenza vaccine dose was highly protective against flu, the researchers note.
“This study indicates that adverse events possibly attributable to influenza vaccination among healthy young children are unusual,” the investigators conclude.
“The influenza vaccine is safe and should be used,” Goodman said.
SOURCE: Pediatrics, May 2006.
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