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Flu Shots for Kids, 2010-11 Recommendations

Reuters Health • The Doctor's Channel Daily Newscast

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A Policy Statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics on recommendations for influenza prevention in children for the 2010-2011 season draws attention to the threat of the H1N1 virus.

“The 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic virus is expected to circulate, with infants and children at increased risk of severe illness and death,” the report states.

The recommendations, published in the October issue of Pediatrics and released August 30, note that “this year’s trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine contains A/California/ 7/2009 (H1N1)-like antigen (derived from the 2009 pandemic influenza A [H1N1] virus); A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like antigen; and B/Brisbane/ 60/2008-like antigen.”

Dr. Michael T. Brady of Ohio State University, the Chairperson of the AAP’s Committee on Infectious Diseases, and colleagues begin by outlining ten key points relevant for the upcoming influenza season.

These include, for example, reiteration of the importance of giving all children 6 months and older the trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine every year, as well as their household members and out-of-home caregivers.

Also, because of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus, the number of influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported in the 2009-2010 season “was nearly 4 times the average number reported in the previous 5 influenza seasons.” While two influenza vaccines were recommended last year, only one is being produced this year.

The report also notes that the number of trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine doses to be administered this year depends on the child’s age and vaccine history, and outlines the schedule in detail and provides a dosing algorithm.

Health care providers are urged to alert parents to the importance of vaccinating children over 6 months of age, noting that the period of flu activity often extends into March or later.

The advisory also covers the use of antivirals, while pointing out that resistance characteristics may change rapidly.

The Policy Statement then goes into more detail on all of these points and includes a section on the two types of trivalent vaccine available — injectable trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) and intranasally administered live-attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). The guidance covers the pros and cons of each, as well as which children should or should not be vaccinated with one type or the other.

Reference:

Policy Statement—Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2010–2011


Pediatrics 2010;126.