The 411 on the 2012/2013 Flu Vaccine and Children

Flu shot

The CDC recommends the flu shot for everyone over the age of 6 months

Most kids haven’t even gone back to school yet, but in some areas of the country, cold and virus season is already picking up some steam.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 6 months and older gets an influenza vaccine annually in an effort to protect against what can be a serious disease. And getting the shot this year seems to have an even higher sense of urgency.

“The best way to prevent influenza is by getting vaccinated each year,” Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement, according to U.S. News and World Report. “It is especially important to get vaccinated this year because two of the three virus strains used in this season’s influenza vaccines differ from the strains included in last year’s vaccines.”

The formulation for the 2012/2013 flu vaccine, which includes the same H1N1 “swine flu” strain that was present in the vaccine in the past two years and is also designed to protect against two other strains currently circulating globally, was approved on August 13 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and will start to become widely available in doctor’s offices and clinics.

The 2012/2013 vaccine will help protect against strains known as A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus; A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus; and B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus. All seasonal influenza vaccines from the 2011/2012 season are now expired.

Young children — as well as pregnant women and people over the age of 65 — are prone to getting much sicker from the flu. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children younger than 2-years-old — even healthy children — are more likely than older children to end up in the hospital if they get the flu. Since 2010, the CDC has recommended that anyone 6 months and older should receive the vaccine.

For specific information on this year’s flu vaccine as well as information on its side effects and which is right for your and your family, visit the CDC’s website.

Photo credit: iStock

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