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Nasal Flu Vaccine Safe for Kids

New study and American Academy of Pediatrics say it works

MONDAY. Jan. 5, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Here's some good news for parents who have to drag their kids kicking and screaming to get their annual flu shot.

It turns out an influenza virus vaccine delivered as a nasal spray protects healthy children against certain strains of influenza, says a report in the January issue of The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Doctors at the Scott & White Memorial Hospital and Clinic in Temple, Texas, found children who received the nasal vaccination were protected against influenza infection during the 2000 flu epidemic.

The study involved 2,794 healthy children aged 1.5 to 18 years who received the nasal vaccine at least once from 1998 to 2000. Their health was compared to 9,325 healthy local children who didn't get the vaccine and 16,264 children from other areas.

That is the kind of evidence that has led the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to announce that nasal flu vaccines are safe for kids older than 5.

The announcement came as the AAP issued its 2004 childhood immunization schedule for the United States.

The AAP says the nasal vaccine is an acceptable alternative to the inactivated influenza vaccine for healthy people aged five to 49.

The AAP is currently considering joining the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Family Physicians in recommending universal influenza immunization of all children between 6 months and 23 months old, as well as routine influenza immunization of all household contact and out-of-home caregivers of children younger than 24 months.

Previously, the academy has encouraged such immunizations but has not taken the step of formally recommending them. If such a change happens, the three groups will release an updated immunization schedule that reflects the new recommendations.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about the 2004 childhood immunization schedule.

SOURCES: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, Jan. 5, 2004; The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, news release, Jan. 5, 2004
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