Influenza Studies Involving Children Continue Despite Flu Vaccine Shortages

A few lucky families will avoid long lines to receive flu vaccine for their young children, and may help future generations at the same time by participating in flu vaccine research at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Children’s Hospital is conducting two separate studies involving young children and the flu vaccine. One study compares FluMist, the nasal spray flu vaccine, with the flu shot in children 6 months to 3 years old. Children will be randomly assigned to receive flu vaccine either by nasal spray or the flu shot and will be followed closely during flu season to see which vaccine is better at preventing the flu.

Details for video/photography

What: Children receiving the nasal spray vaccine and shots as part of a VCH study on the nasal spray vaccine

When: Thursday, Oct. 21, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ***Please confirm arrival time with Carole Bartoo at 322-4747.

Where: Pediatric Associates of Franklin, Tenn. Take I-65 south to Exit 65; turn left onto Highway 96, then another left at the next light onto Edward Curd Lane. Pediatric Associates is located on the second floor of the Vanderbilt Building at 2105 Edward Curd Lane.

Kathryn Edwards, M.D., professor of Pediatrics and Vice Chair for Pediatric Research in the department of Pediatrics at the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, will be at the Franklin clinic for at least four consecutive days, starting Wednesday, Oct. 20, immunizing up to 110 children 6 months to 35 months of age with either the regular flu vaccine or a nasal spray version.

"The response from families has been especially good. With the vaccine shortages, they are interested in getting their children immunized," said Karen Adkins, R.N., a pediatric clinical research nurse at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

The second study, to determine the safety of using the flu vaccine on infants 10 to 22 weeks of age, is a small safety study spearheaded by Natasha Halasa, M.D., a researcher within the division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

As part of a National Institutes of Health-funded study, Halasa and Edwards will vaccinate 50 babies between the ages of 10 weeks and 22 weeks with influenza vaccine. Then the children will be monitored to determine if the vaccine is effective in protecting against flu and its complications, and is safe.

"These infants are part of a vulnerable group and have high hospitalization rates for influenza-related illnesses that are similar to the elderly," Halasa said.

Contact: Carole Bartoo, 322-4747