Why Vaccinate Healthy 2- to 17-Year-Olds Against Influenza?

On February 2, 2023, the French National Authority for Health (HAS) recommended extending flu shots to children aged 2-17 years without comorbidities.

For the first time this year, French healthcare professionals, like their counterparts in the United Kingdom and Spain, are therefore being invited to offer this vaccination to all children.

The reasons are many. This approach seeks to reduce severe forms of disease in this population. It also aims to limit the spread of the virus within the general population and ease the burden of flu on the country's hospital systems.

Following the expansion of these recommendations, the target population for flu vaccination went from 16 million to 28 million people (ie, 40% of the general population of France). But the manufacturers are not fazed, reassuring public health planners that there will be enough vaccines to go round this year.

Overall, according to European modeling duplicated by the HAS, based on a flu vaccine efficacy of between 50% and 80% and a pediatric vaccine coverage between 40% and 50%, the reduction in flu cases could range between 18% and 58%. The same method also predicts a reduction in hospital admissions for flu of 17% to 71% and a drop in deaths of 1% to 90%.