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Pediatricians urge flu vaccine for all kids 6 months and older

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There has been an update on the influenza vaccine recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics recently. They have advised that the youngest kids should have two initial doses of vaccine that will help them in building immunity. They have also recommended parents who kids are between the age of 2 to 8 to consider getting their kids administered with nasal spray vaccine instead of getting them the flu shot, if the former is available.

flu vaccine

The recommendations were published on the web on September 22 in the journal named Pediatrics.


Dr. Henry Bernstein, lead author and a specialist in pediatrics at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y added that it is important to get the vaccine as soon as it is available. Last year, more than 100 kids were reported to have diet from flu as per the reports from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As many as half of them had no underlying medical condition the American Academy of Pediatrics have said. An important observation is that 90% of the children who were treated for influenza in the ICU were not vaccinated for flu. Bernstein said that getting flu is much worse than getting vaccinated. In fact, since this disease can be prevented via vaccines, the more people are vaccinated, they safer and more immune to the disease they will be. Even if kids were vaccinated last year, they need to be vaccinated again this year. It doesn't matter if the flu vaccine this year protects the same type of flu as last year.


Bernstein said that the reason why people should go for vaccination again is because the immunity of people wanes over time. It is seen that antibodies to flu drop 50% in the 6 to 12 months after vaccination. So, getting vaccinated each year ensures better protection.


There are two types of vaccines available for flu. The quadrivalent types protect one from four types of flu while the trivalent vaccine protects from three. Each of this type is not necessarily preferred over the other. People must get the vaccine that is available in the area. Young kids between the ages of 6 months to 8 years may need two doses of the vaccines to be fully protected.


What is new about the recommendation this year is the vaccine in the form of a nasal spray. This vaccine, called the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), is considered healthy for children aged 2 to 8. While both flu shots and nasal spray vaccine work to protect against the flu, nasal spray is supposed to work better in younger children. However, it is recommended that you check out if your kid has a severe allergic reaction to the nasal vaccine, in which case it is definitely not recommended. Kids who have medical condition like as asthma, diabetes, heart or kidney disease or who have taken antiviral medications within two days of getting a vaccination, should not be administered with the nasal vaccine.


Parents should not wait for the nasal spray vaccine to be available in your area. If the flu shots are available, they should go ahead with it. Bernstein also ensured parents who are afraid to get their children vaccinated because they fear the vaccine isn’t safe should not worry. The vaccine is very safe and is designed to keep your child away from flu.


It is also recommended that pregnant women should also get vaccinated to protect themselves as well as their newborns. That is because, in the initial six months of life, the mother’s immunity is what protects the baby. Unless there are medical reasons to be not vaccinated, everyone should get vaccinated.