From the Journals

Flu vaccine did not protect children with acute leukemia



Receiving a trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) did not protect children and adolescents with acute leukemia from developing the flu, said April Sykes of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Carmel, Ind., and her associates.

Patients aged 1-21 years being treated for acute leukemia during three successive influenza seasons (2011-2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014) were identified by a retrospective review of EHRs; of those patients, 354 (71%) patients received TIV, and 98 (20%) received a booster dose of flu vaccine.

Vaccine syringe luiscar/Thinkstock
There was no difference in rates of laboratory-confirmed influenza between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients (0.73 vs. 0.70; P = .874) nor in the rates of influenza-like illnesses between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients (2.44 vs. 2.41; P = .932).

Also, whether the children and youth received one or two doses of flu vaccine made no difference in the rates of influenza (0.60 vs. 1.02; P = .107), the investigators reported.

These data suggest “that influenza vaccine may be ineffective in children receiving therapy for acute leukemia and that routine administration of TIV may not reflect high-value care,” the researchers said. “Until more immunogenic and protective vaccines are developed, efforts to prevent influenza in high-risk populations should focus on more general strategies, such as avoiding ill persons and practicing good respiratory hygiene in households and health care facilities.”

Read more in the Journal of Pediatrics (2017 Nov 21. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.08.071).

Next Article: