Health & Medical Vaccinations

Pediatricians Urge Flu Vaccine for All Kids 6 Months and Older

´╗┐Pediatricians Urge Flu Vaccine for All Kids 6 Months and Older By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Pediatricians are urging that all children aged 6 months and older be vaccinated for the upcoming flu season.

The American Academy of Pediatrics updated their influenza vaccine recommendations to advise that the youngest kids should have two initial doses of vaccine to build immunity. The AAP also wants parents of children aged 2 to 8 to consider getting their kids the nasal spray vaccine instead of the flu shot if it's readily available.

"It's important to get the vaccine as soon as it's available," said lead author Dr. Henry Bernstein, a specialist in pediatrics at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

The recommendations were published online Sept. 22 in the journal Pediatrics.

Last year, slightly more than 100 children died from flu, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of these, almost half had no underlying medical conditions, according to the AAP. More than 90 percent of children treated for influenza in intensive care units weren't vaccinated for flu last year, the AAP reported.

Getting the flu is much worse than getting vaccinated, Bernstein said.

"This is a vaccine-preventable disease, and there is no question that the more people who get vaccinated, the better off we all are," Bernstein said.

Although this year's flu vaccine protects against the same type of flu as last year's vaccine, children still need to get vaccinated, even if they were vaccinated last year, he said.

"People still need to get the vaccine, because people's immunity wanes over time," Bernstein said. In fact, antibodies to flu drop 50 percent in the six to 12 months after vaccination, according to the AAP. "Getting the vaccine each year insures better protection," Bernstein said.

There are two vaccines available. The quadrivalent vaccine protects against four types of flu, one more than the trivalent vaccine, Bernstein said. However, neither vaccine is preferred over the other, he added. "People should get whatever vaccine is available in their area," he said.

The youngest kids, those aged 6 months through 8 years old, may need two doses of the vaccine to be fully protected, Bernstein said.

You might also like on "Health & Medical"

Leave a reply