Further Reading

Flu Vaccine Recommendations for 2017-2018

by Katie M. Bell, RPA-C

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the flu vaccine is the single most important factor in protecting infants and children from illness during the fall and winter months and should be given to children 6 months and older. It is a proven fact that the flu vaccine significantly reduces a child’s risk of severe influenza and subsequent death. During the 2016-17 season, more than 100 children in the U.S died of the flu and thousands were hospitalized for severe illness.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
• All children 6 months of age and older receive influenza vaccinations. Children ages 6 months to 8 years that have not been previously vaccinated for the flu should have two doses of the vaccine.
• For the second year in a row, the AAP supports the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) not to use the live intranasal influenza vaccine due to its inability to protect from the flu in previous years.
• Special effort should be made to vaccinate all children 6 months and older who have chronic conditions that may increase their risk of complications of the flu (i.e., asthma, heart disease, diabetes, babies born premature, and other weakened immune systems).

The influenza vaccine is given by injection into the muscle and is inactivated which means it does not contain live virus and cannot cause the flu. The flu vaccine comes in two different forms, only differing in the number of virus strains that the vaccine protects against. The side effects of the flu vaccine are mild and rare but can include nausea, fatigue, headache and pain at the injection site. In approximately 10-35% of children younger than 2 years of age, a fever can occur within 24 hours after immunization but is typically not a cause for concern. Most side effects of symptoms are mild and resolve on their own in a couple of days.  Vaccinating children against the influenza virus is important and crucial in keeping children healthy and safe through the fall and winter months.