A new study into the effects of repeated flu vaccines used on children has shown that immunity for some flu stains may actually be boosted. This is great news for those who were concerned that getting their children immunized every year may actually decrease effectiveness against flu strains.
Findings recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association have shown promising results in relation to the immunity-boosting properties of getting your yearly flu shot. The study was conducted in response to growing concerns from parents and doctors that were anxious over a recent study showing a decrease in immunity from regular flu shots, according to NBC News.
This new study was conducted with 3,000 children and used periods of time when it had been suggested elsewhere that flu vaccines were causing diminished results.
“In other words, there was no evidence of diminished vaccine effectiveness in frequent vaccinees, even though the study included seasons in which such effects had been reported elsewhere,” said Sarah Cobey from the University of Chicago. Cobey was not involved in the study but offered commentary on the findings.
The study has found that children who are immunized against influenza are less likely to contract the flu than those children who are not immunized. Considering that flu vaccines can be considered, on average, at least 40 percent effective against yearly common strains of influenza, this is no surprise. However, the study also showed that children who regularly receive their flu shots are more likely to have boosted immunity against the flu strain influenza B.
As NBC News points out, the reasoning behind the increased immunity boost could be a result of vaccines stimulating both “the production of antibodies and cells called T-cells to fight germs.” Therefore, “repeated vaccination might more effectively boost the action of T-cells.”
Huong McLean of the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin headed the new study. She and her colleagues studied the effectiveness of the flu vaccine in children vaccinated for the first time against those who had been vaccinated two to three times already. The study then did a detailed breakdown of their findings, which were compared to several flu seasons and also checked efficacy by flu strain. These results showed that both groups showed the same levels of effectiveness against the flu.
“Prior-season vaccination was not associated with reduced vaccine effectiveness,” stated the report. “These findings support current recommendations for annual influenza vaccination of children.”
As reported by NBC News, there were some studies, particularly one out of Canada, that suggested “getting the flu vaccine yearly might increase some people’s risk of catching the virus, even though it’s difficult to explain why that might happen.”