DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE
Nasal Flu Vaccine for Children
Medical Authors and Editors: Barbara K. Hecht,
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Jan 6, 2004 -- With the flu season upon us, the American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP) has issued its 2004 schedule for childhood immunizations,
including its new recommendations as to the flu vaccine for children.
The AAP has recommended that the live-attenuated influenza vaccine, such as
that found in the new nasal mist form, is an acceptable alternative to the
inactivated influenza vaccine for healthy persons age 5-49 years old.
What this means is that healthy children who are 5 or over can receive the
nasal flu vaccine, as can healthy adults.
A Report from Texas
A report in the January issue of The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent
Medicine supports this new recommendation. The study was done in Texas. It
involved almost 2,800 healthy children from 1 1/2 to 18 years of age who
received the nasal vaccine at least once from 1998 to 2000. The gist is that
children who received the nasal flu vaccine were protected against influenza
infection during the 2000 flu epidemic.
The AAP is currently considering formally recommending two new steps. One is
universal influenza immunization of all children 6-23 months of age. And the
other is routine influenza immunization of all household contacts and
out-of-home caregivers of children younger than 24 months. Previously, the AAP
had encouraged such immunizations but has not formally recommended them.