In Practice

Role of vaccines in preventing influenza in healthy children

E Z Sambala, S Cooper, B-M Schmidt, S Walaza, C S Wiysonge

Abstract


The role of an influenza vaccine is to minimise illness and death. Vaccines provide good protection against influenza strains and significantly reduce time off work. However, the recommendation for use depends on the efficacy, effectiveness and safety of the vaccines. We highlight a Cochrane review that sought to determine the efficacy, effectiveness and safety of seasonal influenza vaccines in healthy children, and provide implications for practice for vaccination of children. The findings suggest that influenza vaccines play a key role in reducing serious morbidity and mortality among children. There were few data available to provide firm conclusions on adverse events. Vaccinating against influenza not only reduces its incidence among children, but also extends these benefits to the unvaccinated population, such as the elderly. In light of the many direct and indirect benefits of vaccinating children aged 2 - 16 years, there is a need to provide access to influenza vaccines to all eligible South African children.


Authors' affiliations

E Z Sambala, Cochrane South Africa, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

S Cooper, Cochrane South Africa, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town; and School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

B-M Schmidt, Cochrane South Africa, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

S Walaza, Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg; and School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

C S Wiysonge, Cochrane South Africa, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town; School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town; and Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

Full Text

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Keywords

Efficacy and effectiveness; Seasonal influenza; Attenuated and inactivated influenza vaccines; Healthy children; South Africa

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2021;111(3):206-207. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2021.v111i3.14478

Article History

Date submitted: 2021-03-02
Date published: 2021-03-02

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