New Flu Vaccine May Better Protect Children From Influenza

The new flu vaccine that protects against 4 strains of influenza may be more effective than the traditional 3-strain vaccine, according to a study of approximately 200 children.

The new flu vaccine that protects against 4 strains of influenza may be more effective than the traditional 3-strain vaccine, according to a study of approximately 200 children.

For their study published online December 11, 2013, in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the American University of Beirut Medical Center didn’t compare the quadrivalent vaccine to the traditional trivalent vaccine; instead, they looked at how children responded to either the quadrivalent vaccine or a hepatitis A vaccine, and then compared response rates for the quadrivalent vaccine to those for the trivalent vaccine from last year’s flu season.

By preventing moderate to severe influenza, vaccination was able to reduce the number of doctors’ visits, hospitalizations, absences from school, and parents’ absences from work from 77% to 61%, according to the study results. The data also showed an 80% reduction in lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI).

Coauthor Ghassan Dbaibo, MD, said the study was the first large randomized controlled trial to demonstrate the efficacy of a quadrivalent flu vaccine against influenza in children. For the first time this flu season, the 4-strain vaccine is available as a nasal spray or injection.

The study was funded by GlaxoSmithKline, maker of the new FluLaval Quadrivalent vaccine.