Although annual influenza vaccinations are recommended by many authorities, some doctors may be reluctant to vaccinate asthmatic children because of the risk of inducing bronchial reactivity and exacerbating the asthma. In this study, the effect of split influenza vaccine on clinical symptoms, airway responsiveness and its influence on T lymphocytes was evaluated. Twenty-one asthmatic children with stable asthma were recruited and divided into two groups. Eleven patients who received the influenza vaccine formed the vaccination group and 10 patients who received a placebo formed the placebo group. Forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), airway response (PC20 methacholine, PC20 = provocation concentration causing a 20% fall in FEV1) and the T lymphocyte subset ratio (Th1/Th2) were recorded on day 1 pre-vaccination and day 14 post-vaccination. Patients were also asked to record their peak expiratory flow (PEF) every morning and evening and to complete daily symptom scores over the period of 2 weeks. There were no significant changes in PC20, FEV1, PEF variability, symptom scores and the Th1/Th2 ratio between the vaccination and placebo groups between day 1 pre-vaccination and day 14 post-vaccination. Similar results of PEF variability and asthma symptom score were obtained when the analysis was restricted to the day 1 pre-vaccination and day 3 post-vaccination. Immunization with split influenza vaccine does not exacerbate asthma in children either with a clinical or immunological effect. These results suggest that children with stable asthma can safely be immunized with a split influenza vaccine.