Flu season is upon us, and now is the time to review how to best protect your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children ages 6 months and older, including adolescents, receive a flu shot this season with the goal of providing optimal protection against all strains of influenza. Influenza can be a serious illness, and as many parents are aware, influenza resulted in a record number of pediatric deaths this past year.
Injectable vs. Nasal Flu Vaccine
The AAP recommends the injectable flu vaccine as the primary choice for children and adolescents this season because the injectable vaccine has provided the most consistent protection against all strains of flu virus in recent years. FluMist, the nasal flu vaccine (also known as the live attenuated influenza vaccine) is also available this year. FluMist was off market for the past two flu seasons because it did not work as well against influenza A/H1N1, but has been re-introduced for 2018-2019.
When deciding what vaccine to give your child, it is important for parents to recognize the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has approved FluMist. However, after the AAP reviewed the same data, the AAP concluded the injectable flu vaccine is preferred. This is because the injectable flu vaccine can offer your child better protection. Based on this, the AAP recommends that FluMist be reserved as a last resort for those who would not otherwise receive any vaccine at all. However, we do have the FluMist if you would like to choose this option for your child.
As a parent, the best thing you can do to protect your children from influenza is to get them vaccinated. Everyone around them should be vaccinated, too.
Influzena Vaccine and Egg Allergy
This year, the recommendations have changed. Everyone who has an egg allergy may receive any type of influenza vaccine. However, children who have egg allergies should receive their flu vaccine as a regular office visit so we can observe them after the flu vaccine is given. Thus, if your child has an egg allergy please do not come to the flu clinics, but instead please call for an appointment.
Does my child need a booster dose of Flu Vaccine?
The number of doses of influenza vaccine depends on your child’s age and vaccine history. Children 6 months through 8 years of age need two doses when it is the first time they are being vaccinated against influenza. Children 9 years of age and older require only one dose, regardless of prior vaccination history.