Role of vaccines in preventing influenza in healthy children
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The role of an influenza vaccine is to minimise illness and death. Vaccines provide good protection against influenza strains and significantly reduce time off work. However, the recommendation for use depends on the efficacy, effectiveness and safety of the vaccines. We highlight a Cochrane review that sought to determine the efficacy, effectiveness and safety of seasonal influenza vaccines in healthy children, and provide implications for practice for vaccination of children. The findings suggest that influenza vaccines play a key role in reducing serious morbidity and mortality among children. There were few data available to provide firm conclusions on adverse events. Vaccinating against influenza not only reduces its incidence among children, but also extends these benefits to the unvaccinated population, such as the elderly. In light of the many direct and indirect benefits of vaccinating children aged 2 - 16 years, there is a need to provide access to influenza vaccines to all eligible South African children.
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