Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Influenza vaccination not shown to reduce asthma exacerbations

Paediatrics

Paediatrics

Rates of vaccination against influenza for eligible children run at around 25%. Guidance suggests that vaccination should be offered to children with asthma who require regular inhaled steroids or have been admitted to hospital because of an exacerbation. However, many GPs and paediatricians are uncertain if vaccination truly offers benefits.

A paper, in Archives of Disease in Childhood, has found little available evidence in support of influenza vaccination for children with asthma.

The authors used conventional search techniques and identified four relevant papers. Only one of these studies was a randomised, double-blind controlled trial. The others were cohort studies.

The evidence in the randomised controlled trial was equivocal, but showed a non-statistically significant increase in exacerbations in the vaccination group. The cohort studies also showed an increase in exacerbations among children in the vaccinated group. However, the authors comment that this could be because only children more severely affected by asthma attended for vaccination.

One of the cohort studies did show some statistical significance supporting vaccination for children under six years of age, arguably the group who are least likely to be targeted for vaccination by GPs.

The authors recommend that GPs should be assessing the need for influenza vaccination in children with asthma on a case-by-case basis, particularly focusing on those who are under six.

It is comforting to find that one's clinical impression that something is of doubtful benefit is supported by the evidence.

Carroll W, Burkimsher R. Is there any evidence for influenza vaccination in children with asthma? Arch Dis Child 2007;92:644-649

Reviewer

Dr Peter Saul
GP, Wrexham and hospital practitioner in paediatrics (asthma and allergy)

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say