September 22, 2011

Study seeks optimal flu vaccine dosage for infants

Featured Image

Natasha Halasa, M.D., left, examines Maeryn Rue-Pollock, who’s being held by her mother, Marijean Rue. Halasa is taking part in a national study of flu vaccine dosage levels. (photo by Steve Green)

Study seeks optimal flu vaccine dosage for infants

The Vanderbilt Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Unit is taking part in a national study to determine the most effective dose of flu vaccine to give babies to protect them against illness during the flu season.

For many years, it has been recommended that infants and toddlers get half the dose of flu vaccine normally given older children and adults because of concerns about potential side effects.

But the vaccine has changed and improved since those recommendations came out and research shows that infants vaccinated with the smaller dose remain at increased risk for getting the flu when compared to other age groups.

In this study infants and children are randomly assigned the larger dose (standard dose given to older children and adults) or the currently recommended, half dose of this year’s flu vaccine.

“We believe the larger dose is just as safe in this age group, but evidence is needed to prove the larger dose is both safe and more effective in preventing seasonal flu before the recommendation can be changed,” said Natasha Halasa, M.D., MPH, assistant professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and principal investigator on the study.

To be eligible, children must be between 6 and 35 months old and must not have received the flu vaccine in the past. The vaccine will be given in two shots, as is normally recommended for first-time flu vaccine recipients.

A small amount of blood will be drawn at two visits and parents will be asked to bring the babies back for a third follow-up visit for an additional blood draw. Families will be compensated $350 for their participation in the trial.

For more information or to see if your child qualifies, please e-mail or call (615) 322‐2730.