Children and Flu Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual flu vaccination for all persons 6 months of age and older, including children. Flu vaccination is especially important for younger children (under 5 years of age, and in particular under 2), and for children with high-risk medical conditions. Moreover, it is important to vaccinate school-aged children who may bring the flu home from school.
While infants under 6 months of age are also at very high risk from the flu, current vaccines are not effective in this age group. However, immunization of persons with whom these infants have close contact (such as family and household members or daycare workers) may provide protection and is strongly recommended. Close contacts of children 6 months up to 5 years of age, or close contacts of children any age with high-risk medical conditions, should also receive the flu vaccine.
We recommend that high-risk children and their close contacts be vaccinated early in the season, preferably in September or October. PAMF pediatric patients may get their flu vaccinations in their primary care doctor’s office or at one of PAMF’s flu vaccine clinics.
We plan to offer preservative-free, latex-free flu vaccine to all PAMF patients, including children less than 36 months in whom thimerosal-free flu vaccine is mandated by the state.
A flu nasal spray vaccine (live attenuated intranasal vaccine) is also thimerosal-free and is available for healthy children ages two to 18 years of age at an office visit with their primary care doctor or at some PAMF flu clinics In 2013-2014, PAMF is transitioning to “quadrivalent” flu vaccine both for the flu shot vaccine and the flu nasal spray. Quadrivalent flu vaccine contains 4 flu strains instead of three strains in the familiar trivalent vaccine. An extra B strain has been added to hopefully provide better coverage since predicting which B strain will be circulating can be difficult. The safety profile of the quadrivalent vaccine is similar to the trivalent vaccine we are all used to.
Parents, please note: Some children 6 months through 8 years of age may need two flu vaccinations one month apart instead of just one vaccination. In most cases, your child will need two doses if they have not received two or more doses of seasonal influenza vaccine since July 1, 2010. However, there are some exceptions. Therefore, please see this CDC web page for details. If two doses are necessary, it is important for your child to get them both to achieve the best protection against the flu.
Last updated 8/2013
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