Epidemiology and Infection

Research Article

The effect of mass influenza immunization in children on the morbidity of the unvaccinated elderly

Y. Z. GHENDONa1 c1, A. N. KAIRAa2 and G. A. ELSHINAa3

a1 Research Institute of Viral Preparations, Moscow, Russia

a2 State Sanitary and Epidemiology Centre for Moscow Region, Moscow, Russia

a3 State Control Institute for Standardization and Control of Medical Biological Preparations, Moscow, Russia


The objectives of these studies were to analyse the effect of mass influenza immunization in children on the morbidity of unvaccinated non-institutionalized elderly during an influenza epidemic. A mass vaccination campaign with vaccine was conducted in children aged 3–6 years attending kindergartens (57·4% of 6374) and aged 7–17 years attending schools (72% of 34 237) in two communities of the Moscow region. The clinical effectiveness of vaccination was 60·9% for kindergartens and 68·8% for schools. There were 3·4 times fewer episodes of influenza-like illnesses and 1·7–2·6 fewer episodes in all seven diseases which are possible complications of influenza out of the 10 evaluated diseases in 158 451 unvaccinated non-institutionalized elderly people during the influenza epidemic compared with the control communities. The differences were found to be statistically significant. Mass vaccination of children attending child institutions brought about a significant reduction of both influenza-like illnesses in children and influenza-associated illnesses in unvaccinated non-institutionalized elderly persons living in the home setting.

(Accepted October 02 2005)

(Online publication November 29 2005)


c1 Author for correspondence: Dr Y. Z. Ghendon, Research Institute of Viral Preparations, I Dubrovskaya str. 15, Moscow 115088, Russia. (Email: misha_vasiliev@hotmail.com)