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Prescrire Int. 2013 Sep;22(141):201-4.

Intranasal live attenuated seasonal influenza vaccine: does not challenge current practice.

[No authors listed]

Abstract

Influenza vaccination of children is only justified when there is a risk of serious influenza complications. In 2012, a live attenuated vaccine for intranasal administration was authorised in the European Union for influenza prevention in individuals aged from 2 to less than 18 years. This type of vaccine has been available in the United States since 2003. Clinical evaluation of this live vaccine is based on three non-inferiority trials versus an injected inactivated vaccine. There are no specific trials in children at risk of serious influenza complications. Only one of these trials was double-blinded. Two trials involved children with a history of respiratory problems. Symptomatic influenza confirmed by viral culture was less frequent in these three trials after intranasal vaccination than after injection of the conventional vaccine (about 3 to 5% and 6 to 10%, respectively). There was no difference between the vaccines in terms of clinical complications of influenza, especially asthma exacerbations. Adverse effects attributed to the intranasal vaccine mainly consisted of local reactions such as rhinorrhoea and nasal congestion, as well as flu-like syndromes. Wheezing, respiratory tract infections and hospitalisation were more frequent with the intranasal vaccine than with the injected vaccine in children aged less than 1 year and in children with a history of severe respiratory illness. The intranasal vaccine is contraindicated in these children. The intranasal vaccine contains live attenuated virus strains and is therefore contraindicated in immunocompromised patients. US pharmacovigilance data suggest that severe allergic reactions to the intranasal vaccine, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and transmission of vaccine viruses to contacts are very rare. Intranasal administration seems to be more practical, especially for children. In practice, there is no firm evidence that this live attenuated influenza vaccine has any clinical advantages over injected vaccines, including in children at risk of influenza complications. In addition, this vaccine is unsuitable for the very children who are most in need of protection against influenza. It is better to stick with injected influenza vaccines.

PMID:
24171209
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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