DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVEMedical Authors and Editors: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D. and 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.
1. Committee on Infectious Diseases of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Recommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedule-United States, January-June 2004. Pediatrics 2004; 113: 142-143.
2. MJ Gaglani; PA Piedra; GB Herschler; ME Griffith; CA Kozinetz; MW Riggs; C Fewlass; ME Halloran; IM Longini Jr; WP Glezen. Direct and Total Effectiveness of the Intranasal, Live-Attenuated, Trivalent Cold-Adapted Influenza Virus Vaccine Against the 2000-2001 Influenza A (H1N1) and B Epidemic in Healthy Children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158:65-73.