Children in the
Most immunization campaigns target people aged 65 years or older. The United States and Canada have recently started vaccinating children, including those aged six to 24 months, in the hope of reducing disease spread, admissions and visits to hospitals, deaths of elderly relatives, complications (such as ear infections and pneumonia), absences from school, and parental loss of workdays and over-prescribing of antibiotics. However, there is no evidence that vaccinating children can achieve these goals.
Tom Jefferson, MD (
Vaccines of live viruses with weakened infectivity had 79 percent efficacy and 38 percent effectiveness in children older than two years compared with placebo or no immunization. Inactivated vaccines had a lower efficacy (65 percent) than live weakened vaccines, and in children aged two years or younger they had similar effects to placebo. Effectiveness of inactivated vaccines was about 28 percent in children older than two years. Vaccines were effective in reducing long school absences but had little effect on other outcomes, such as hospital stays and lower respiratory tract disease, when compared with placebo or no intervention. However, the authors note that these conclusions are based on a small number of studies.
We have identified a large dataset showing reasonable quality evidence of efficacy of influenza vaccines in children age two years or older, especially for two-dose live attenuated vaccines, says
Source: The Lancet