Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children.Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012; (8):CD004879CD
The consequences of influenza in children and adults are mainly absenteeism from school and work. However, the risk of complications is greatest in children and people over 65 years of age.
To appraise all comparative studies evaluating the effects of influenza vaccines in healthy children, assess vaccine efficacy (prevention of confirmed influenza) and effectiveness (prevention of influenza-like illness (ILI)) and document adverse events associated with influenza vaccines.
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2011, Issue 3) which includes the Acute Respiratory Infections Group's Specialised Register, OLD MEDLINE (1950 to 1965), MEDLINE (1966 to November 2011), EMBASE (1974 to November 2011), Biological Abstracts (1969 to September 2007), and Science Citation Index (1974 to September 2007).
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), cohort and case-control studies of any influenza vaccine in healthy children under 16 years of age.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Four review authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data.
We included 75 studies with about 300,000 observations. We included 17 RCTs, 19 cohort studies and 11 case-control studies in the analysis of vaccine efficacy and effectiveness. Evidence from RCTs shows that six children under the age of six need to be vaccinated with live attenuated vaccine to prevent one case of influenza (infection and symptoms). We could find no usable data for those aged two years or younger.Inactivated vaccines in children aged two years or younger are not significantly more efficacious than placebo. Twenty-eight children over the age of six need to be vaccinated to prevent one case of influenza (infection and symptoms). Eight need to be vaccinated to prevent one case of influenza-like-illness (ILI). We could find no evidence of effect on secondary cases, lower respiratory tract disease, drug prescriptions, otitis media and its consequences and socioeconomic impact. We found weak single-study evidence of effect on school absenteeism by children and caring parents from work. Variability in study design and presentation of data was such that a meta-analysis of safety outcome data was not feasible. Extensive evidence of reporting bias of safety outcomes from trials of live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIVs) impeded meaningful analysis. One specific brand of monovalent pandemic vaccine is associated with cataplexy and narcolepsy in children and there is sparse evidence of serious harms (such as febrile convulsions) in specific situations.