Systematic review of fever, febrile convulsions and serious adverse events following administration of inactivated trivalent influenza vaccines in children.
BACKGROUND Trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) is recommended for all children ages 6 to 23 months. Delivering 2 doses of TIV at least 4 weeks apart to young children receiving this vaccine for the first time is challenging. METHODS We compared the immunogenicity and reactogenicity of the standard 2-dose regimen of TIV administered in the fall with an early schedule of a single spring dose followed by a fall dose of the same vaccine in healthy toddlers 6 to 23 months of age. Children were recruited in the spring to be randomized into either the standard or early schedule. An additional group was also enrolled in the fall as part of a nonrandomized standard comparison group. The 2002-2003 licensed TIV was administered in the spring; the fall 2003-2004 vaccine contained the same 3 antigenic components. Reactogenicity was assessed by parental diaries and telephone surveillance. Blood was obtained after the second dose of TIV for all children. The primary outcome measure was antibody response to influenza A/H1N1, A/H3N2, and B after 2 doses of vaccine, as determined by hemagglutination-inhibition titers > or =1:32 and geometric mean titer (GMT). RESULTS Two hundred nineteen children were randomized to receive either the standard or early TIV schedule; 40 additional children were enrolled in the fall in the nonrandomized standard group. Response rates in the combined standard versus early groups were similar overall: 78% (GMT: 48) vs 76% (GMT: 57) to H1N1, 89% (GMT: 115) vs 88% (GMT: 129) to H3N2, and 52% (GMT: 24) vs 60% (GMT: 28) to B. Reactogenicity after TIV in both groups of children was minimal and did not differ by dose, age, or time between doses. Reaction rates were higher in those receiving TIV and concomitant vaccines compared with those receiving TIV alone. Overall rates of fever >38 degrees C axillary and injection-site pain, redness, or swelling were 5.4%, 3.1%, 0.9%, and 1.1%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS When the spring and fall influenza vaccines had the same 3 antigenic components, the early vaccine schedule resulted in similar immunogenicity and reactogenicity compared with the standard schedule. When the vaccine components do not change between years, initiating influenza vaccine in the spring at the time of routine office visits would facilitate full immunization of children against influenza earlier in the season.