In 1985, we enrolled 189 school-age children by family in a double-blind study to determine protection against influenza by a single dose of cold-recombinant bivalent A vaccine or commercial trivalent inactivated vaccine compared with placebo. All children in school or day care, 3 to 18 years of age, in an enrolled family received the same preparation. Following vaccination, 60% and 21% of cold-recombinant bivalent A vaccine recipients and 73% and 83% of trivalent inactivated vaccine recipients demonstrated fourfold or greater response in hemagglutination-inhibition antibody titer to A/H1N1 and A/H3N2, respectively. Sixty-seven percent of all trivalent inactivated vaccine recipients demonstrated a fourfold or greater serologic response to H1N1, H3N2, and influenza B following a single dose of vaccine. During the 1985-1986 influenza B/Ann Arbor epidemic, heterotypic protection afforded by the influenza B/USSR component of trivalent inactivated vaccine was 62% compared with placebo. A single dose of trivalent inactivated vaccine protected school-age children, 6 to 19 years of age, from influenza B infection; the rate of protection was 64% against infection and 73% against febrile illness.