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Seasonal flu vaccine is safe for young infants

Category: Infectious Diseases

A study in the February issue of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal suggests that seasonal flu vaccines are safe and can produce an effective immune response in infants as young as six weeks old. Currently, no flu vaccine is approved for use in infants younger than six months old.

Janet Englund of the University of Washington, Seattle, and her colleagues assigned either a standard seasonal flu vaccine or an inactive placebo vaccine to more than 1,300 healthy infants.

After several months, the researchers found no differences between the two groups in terms of side effects or adverse events. Approximately 11 percent of subjects in both the vaccine and control groups developed a fever within 72 hours of the injection.

Follow-up tests revealed that nearly half of the infants who received the vaccine developed protective antibodies that combat at least two of the three main influenza virus strains.

"Based on the results of this study, potential protection against influenza could be safely obtained in infants less than 6 months of age who receive a standard infant dose of inactivated influenza vaccine," concluded Englund.

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