Background: Despite their potential for increased morbidity, 75% to 90% of asthmatic children do not receive influenza vaccination. Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), a cold-adapted, temperature-sensitive, trivalent influenza vaccine, is approved for prevention of influenza in healthy children 5 to 19 years of age. LAIV has been studied in only a small number of children with asthma.
Methods: Children 6 to 17 years of age, with a clinical diagnosis of asthma, received a single dose of either intranasal CAIV-T (an investigational refrigerator-stable formulation of LAIV; n = 1114) or injectable trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV; n = 1115) in this randomized, open-label study during the 2002–2003 influenza season. Participants were followed up for culture-confirmed influenza illness, respiratory outcome, and safety.
Results: The incidence of community-acquired culture-confirmed influenza illness was 4.1% (CAIV-T) versus 6.2% (TIV), demonstrating a significantly greater relative efficacy of CAIV-T versus TIV of 34.7% (90% confidence interval [CI] 9.4%–53.2%; 95% CI = 3.9%–56.0%). There were no significant differences between treatment groups in the incidence of asthma exacerbations, mean peak expiratory flow rate findings, asthma symptom scores, or nighttime awakening scores. The incidence of runny nose/nasal congestion was higher for CAIV-T (66.2%) than TIV (52.5%) recipients. Approximately 70% of TIV recipients reported injection site reactions.
Conclusions: CAIV-T was well tolerated in children and adolescents with asthma. There was no evidence of a significant increase in adverse pulmonary outcomes for CAIV-T compared with TIV. CAIV-T had a significantly greater relative efficacy of 35% compared with TIV in this high-risk population.