Influenza Vaccine is Now Available for the 2015-2016 Season: What you need to know.
The physicians and staff of Children’s Healthcare strongly believe that the flu vaccine is a good idea for all families because getting Influenza is much more likely to lead to severe illness and hospitalization than a cold. Influenza is also more likely to cause children to miss school and parents to miss work for up to a week.
Babies younger than 6 months old can't get the vaccine, but if their parents, other caregivers, and older kids in the household are vaccinated, that will help protect the baby. This is important because infants are more at risk for serious complications from the flu.
Who Should Be Immunized?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older.
But it's especially important for those who are at greater risk of developing health problems from the flu, including:
all kids 6 months through 4 years old (babies younger than 6 months are also considered high risk, but they cannot receive the flu vaccine) anyone 65 years and older
all women who are pregnant, are considering pregnancy, have recently given birth, or are breastfeeding during flu season
anyone whose immune system is weakened from medications or illnesses
residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes
anyone (adults, teens, and kids) with a chronic medical condition, such as asthma
kids or teens who take aspirin regularly and are at risk for developing Reye syndrome if they get the flu
caregivers or household contacts of anyone in a high-risk group (like children younger than 5 years old, especially those younger than 6 months, and those with high-risk conditions)
Types of Flu Vaccine
Different types of vaccines (including those that only protect against 3 strains of Influenza) are available for you and your family members at Pharmacies and Urgent Care Centers around the county. At Children’s Healthcare, all of our vaccines are Quadrivalent, meaning they protect against four strains of influenza. Last year, the strains of flu that circulated transformed in a manner that caused the vaccine to be less effective than we would have wanted. For this coming winter, all indications are that the vaccine available in our office will be much more effective in preventing the flu.
The vaccine can also be given to kids in two different ways: by injection with a needle (the flu shot), or sprayed into the nostrils (nasal flu mist).
Both ways of delivering the vaccine are effective. The nasal spray isn't recommended for kids with certain medical conditions such as asthma or pregnant women.
Egg Allergy and Flu Vaccine
In the past, it was recommended that anyone with an egg allergy talk to a doctor about whether receiving the flu vaccine was safe because it is grown inside eggs. But health experts now say that the amount of egg allergen in the vaccine is so tiny that it is safe even for kids with an egg allergy. If your child is sick and has a fever, talk to your doctor about rescheduling the flu shot.
When Should Kids Get Vaccinated?
Flu season runs from October to May. It's best to get a flu vaccine between mid September and mid December, as it gives the body a chance to build up immunity to (protection from) the flu.