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Published on 20 September 2007

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FDA approves influenza vaccine in toddlers

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The FDA has approved the nasal influenza vaccine FluMist® (live attenuated influenza vaccine) for use in children between two and five years old.

Approval for the vaccine, which is sprayed in the nose, was previously limited to healthy children more than five years old.

It is advised that youngsters in the USA between six and 59 months old receive a vaccination to protect against influenza.

This is because studies have shown that children under five have rates of hospital admissions from flu similar to those of elderly patients.

But until now only two vaccines have been licensed for that age group.

FluMist, manufactured by MedImmune Vaccines, was granted FDA approval after a study of 6,400 infants and children aged 6–59 months showed the vaccine significantly reduced the chances of contracting influenza.

Dr Jesse Goodman, a director at the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said: “The goal of preventing influenza is now more attainable with the availability of FluMist for younger children.

“This approval also offers parents and health professionals a needle-free option for squeamish toddlers, who may be reluctant to get a traditional influenza shot.”

Copyright © PA Business 2007

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