At the beginning of the 2003-2004 influenza season a debate gained the media attention during
few weeks, focusing the attention of Italian pediatricians and Italian families. Groups and
associations of Italian pediatricians advocated for universal vaccination against influenza virus
for all children irrespective to their general health condition.
In this article we collect and present the available evidence on this topic, in particular on the
epidemiology of influenza and influenza-like syndrome, and on the efficacy, effectiveness and
side effects of influenza vaccination on children. We conclude that there is no evidence to support
such a policy, on the contrary the sparse available data are against it.
We hope that a clear presentation of the evidence can help to conduct the discussion in a more
scientific and less emotional way.