, Volume 166, Issue 6, pp 629-631
Date: 29 Sep 2006

Should healthy children be vaccinated against influenza? Comments about this query

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In the April 2006 issue, Heikkinen et al. [2] wonder whether all children between the age of 6 months and 3 years should be vaccinated against influenza. The query is based on the morbidity considered to be due to the influenza virus. Indeed, during annual epidemics, an increase in the number of office visits and the rate of hospital admissions for respiratory-tract infections, febrile seizures, or fever of unknown origin has been observed. Moreover, socioeconomic impact factors, interfering with parental work and increased mortality in elderly people, contaminated by children, are also invoked for this purpose. Yet, the authors agree that influenza has no influence on the mortality in children, which ranges from 0.2 to 0.8 per 100,000 persons a year. The authors also agree that the average annual attack rates of influenza among children remain stable at 20–30%, implying that the majority of them would not have symptomatic influenza during any given year and therefore would be vaccinat