Children receive the same flu protection regardless of how dose is given

According to a new federal study, children under the age of three receive roughly the same amount of protection from the flu vaccine regardless of what method is used to give the recommended two doses.
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases study also revealed that children who receive at least one dose of the nasal spray vaccine had the broadest immune response, which could boost their protection against many diverse flu strains, HealthDay reports. The nasal spray contains a live attenuated influenza virus vaccine, which is a highly weakened or modified live virus.
Young children receive two doses of flu vaccine called a prime booster combination. The first dose primes the immune system to produce antibodies while the second dose is meant to trigger an immune response.
"Severe complications from seasonal influenza can be devastating to young children," NIAID director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said, according to NewsDay. "This study provides initial evidence that the prime and booster doses for these young children can be different types of flu vaccines and still provide adequate protection against matching seasonal flu strains."
Researchers divided the 53 children, who ranged in age from six months to 35 months, into four groups receiving either two doses of the live, attenuated nasal spray, two injections of flu vaccine, nasal spray followed by an injection or injection followed by the nasal spray.

Investigators found that all four groups of children were safe and produced similar amounts of protective antibodies. The children who received the live attenuated virus produced significant amounts of three important protective T-cells specific to influenza.
The study pointed out that the live attenuated flu virus has been linked to wheezing in the youngest recipients. The researchers concluded that the best regimen for children younger than 24 months might be one injected dose followed by one live attenuated dose of the seasonal flu vaccine.