This year’s strain of seasonal flu is the same as last year’s, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends most children get the vaccine again this year.
Flu shots provide optimal protection against the seasonal and highly contagious virus for only six to 12 months, so parents are advised to take kids in for another round of vaccinations before flu season kicks in later this year. The good news is, some kids might only need a single dose of the vaccine, rather than the two separate doses required last year and the year before.
According to the Los Angeles Times Booster Shots blog, this is only the fourth time in 25 years that the seasonal flu virus was the same for a second year in a row.
Children 9 years old and up will need only one dose; the same goes for kids 6 months to 8 years old who received the vaccine last year. Those who didn’t get the vaccine last season will need two doses. Babies younger than 6 months should not get the vaccine.
Children with mild egg allergy can get the flu vaccine safely at their doctor’s office, the recommendations state. Kids with more severe egg allergies should check with an allergist first. Parents should get their children vaccinated in the early fall, or as soon as the vaccine becomes available, according to the recommendations.
This year’s vaccine protects against last year’s same three strains — Influenza A (H3N2), Influenza A (H1N1) and Influenza B — and it is already available in some areas. Go here to find out where the flu shot is available.
The AAP has a list of the symptoms of flu and what to do if you suspect your child may have the flu.
A new report on the safety of immunization shots should also reassure parents that the benefit of immunizations outweighs vaccine side effects.
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