The safety of influenza vaccines in children: An Institute for Vaccine Safety white paper

Vaccine. 2015 Dec 30;33 Suppl 5:F1-F67. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.10.080.


Most influenza vaccines are generally safe, but influenza vaccines can cause rare serious adverse events. Some adverse events, such as fever and febrile seizures, are more common in children than adults. There can be differences in the safety of vaccines in different populations due to underlying differences in genetic predisposition to the adverse event. Live attenuated vaccines have not been studied adequately in children under 2 years of age to determine the risks of adverse events; more studies are needed to address this and several other priority safety issues with all influenza vaccines in children. All vaccines intended for use in children require safety testing in the target age group, especially in young children. Safety of one influenza vaccine in children should not be extrapolated to assumed safety of all influenza vaccines in children. The low rates of adverse events from influenza vaccines should not be a deterrent to the use of influenza vaccines because of the overwhelming evidence of the burden of disease due to influenza in children.

Keywords: ADEM; Bell's palsy; Cellulitis-like reactions; Febrile seizures; Fever; Guillain-Barre syndrome; Hypersensitivity reactions; ITP; Inflammatory arthritis; Influenza; Influenza vaccine; Local reactions following IIV; Malaise; Multiple sclerosis; Myalgia; Narcolepsy; Vaccine safety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Academies and Institutes
  • Child, Preschool
  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Fever / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Infant
  • Influenza Vaccines / adverse effects*
  • Influenza Vaccines / standards
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Risk Assessment
  • Seizures, Febrile / chemically induced
  • Vaccination / adverse effects
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / adverse effects
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / standards


  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Attenuated