Rationale and approach to target children with asthma for annual influenza immunization

Semin Pediatr Infect Dis. 2002 Apr;13(2):97-103. doi: 10.1053/spid.2002.122996.


Influenza virus infection can cause an acute exacerbation of asthma that may result in hospitalization. Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for children with asthma, but fewer than 10 percent receive it. This review summarizes the influenza-associated morbidity in children with asthma. The risk-versus-benefit of influenza vaccination in children with asthma is evaluated. Strategies to improve influenza vaccine uptake in children with asthma are investigated. Influenza virus infection causes substantial morbidity in children with asthma. Data on safety and effectiveness of the trivalent influenza vaccine in these children are limited. However, it is generally safe and effective in preventing influenza infection. The investigational live-attenuated, cold-adapted, trivalent nasal spray influenza vaccine needs evaluation for safety and efficacy in children with asthma. An annual, well-organized, computerized multicomponent strategy should be implemented for optimizing influenza immunization in the high-risk population. Children with asthma should be targeted for annual influenza immunization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / complications*
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drugs, Investigational / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Influenza Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Influenza, Human / complications
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Orthomyxoviridae / immunology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Safety
  • Vaccination / adverse effects
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / administration & dosage


  • Drugs, Investigational
  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Attenuated