Flu vaccination may be ineffective in preventing the viral infection in young patients with leukaemia, researchers have warned.
Researchers said their findings remained 'preliminary' and they would still advise vaccination for patients with acute forms of leukaemia.
But they also suggest careful steps to protect patients from infection.
The retrospective study at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, studied outcomes for nearly 500 patients.
Out of these some 354 underwent vaccination and 144 did not. 98 of the vaccinated patients had booster shots.
Reporting in the Journal of Paediatrics, the researchers say that patients suffered identical rates of flu and flu-like illness whether they were vaccinated or not – even when they received a booster shot.
Researcher Dr Elisabeth Adderson said: 'This is preliminary data. The annual flu shot, whose side effects are generally mild and short-lived, is still recommended for patients with acute leukaemia who are being treated for their disease.
'However, the results do highlight the need for additional research in this area and for us to redouble our efforts to protect our patients through other means.'
Source: Journal of Paediatrics 16 October 2017
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