Background: Early outbreaks of the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 virus predominantly involved young children, who fuelled transmission through spread in homes and schools. Seroprevalence studies conducted on stored serum collections indicated low levels of antibody to the novel strain in this age group, leading many to recommend priority immunisation of paediatric populations.
Objectives: In a prospective study, we sought evidence of cross-reactive antibodies to the pandemic virus in children who were naïve to seasonal influenza vaccines, at baseline and following two doses of the 2009 Southern Hemisphere trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV).
Patients/methods: Twenty children were recruited, with a median age of 4 years (interquartile range 3-5 years); all received two age appropriate doses of TIV. Paired sera were collected pre- and post-vaccination for the assessment of vaccine immunogenicity, using haemagglutination inhibition and microneutralisation assays against vaccine-related viruses and influenza A (H1N1) 2009.
Results: Robust responses to H3N2 were observed regardless of age or pre-vaccination titre, with 100% seroconversion. Fewer seroconverted to the seasonal H1N1 component. Only two children were weakly seropositive (HI titre 40) to the pandemic H1N1 strain at study entry, and none showed evidence of seroconversion by HI assay following TIV administration.
Conclusions: Administration of 2009 Southern Hemisphere TIV did little to elicit cross-reactive antibodies to the pandemic H1N1 virus in children, in keeping with assay results on stored sera from studies of previous seasonal vaccines. Our findings support the recommendations for influenza A (H1N1) 2009 vaccination of children in preparation for the 2010 winter season.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.