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They Say – Flu Shots May Be Safe for Youngest Babies

4038220707_f13fc3b8cfStanding in line for the H1N1 shot last fall were parents, grandparents, and other caretakers of newborn infants.

Because there is no flu shot — H1N1 or seasonal — approved for infants under six months, and because infants are at high risk for complications if they do catch the flu, the next best thing is making sure that everyone around the infant is vaccinated.

But a new study out of the University of Washington, Seattle suggests that seasonal flu vaccines may be safely used in infants as young as six weeks old.

HealthDay reports that a group of 1,375 babies were given either a seasonal flu shot, which protects against three strains of the flu, or a placebo.  Adverse reactions to the shot were rare, and about 1 in 10 babies in both groups developed a mild fever in the days following the shot.  About half of the babies developed an immunological response to one of the three flu viruses.

Though more studies are needed, these findings could eventually lead to the recommendation that young infants get a flu shot as part of their regular vaccination schedule.

But would parents go for it?  Despite the fact that H1N1 caused a dramatic increase in pediatric flu deaths in 2009, response to the vaccine has been ambivalent at best.

Would you consider adding the seasonal flu shot to your infant’s vaccination schedule?

Photo: abbybatchelder, Flickr

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