Children are known to have the highest rates of influenza infections, especially school aged kids and those under 5 years old. Getting the flu can put children at risk for complications from the infection, including hospitalization or death. Young children, particularly those under the age of 2 years old, are at higher risk of complications or severe disease; preterm infants and older children with chronic health conditions are also at an increased risk. Even if you are not in a high-risk population, flu vaccines can lower your risk of complications and help protect those around you.
The influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months old or older without medical contraindications to the vaccine. If your child has had a severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine in the past, such as anaphylaxis, they should be seen by an allergist to determine if they are eligible for a flu vaccine in the future. Most children with egg allergies are safe to receive the flu vaccine - if you have questions about this, please speak with your allergist. Children with moderate or severe illness should wait until their symptoms improve to receive the vaccine, but if they have a mild cold it is okay to receive the shot. If your child is too young to get the flu vaccine (<6 months old), it is important for those around them (such as parents, caretakers, and siblings) to receive the vaccine instead to help protect them.
Flu vaccines are important to get every year, because there are often new updates to provide protection against the predicted strains for the season. This year’s flu vaccine has an additional Flu A component that was not present in last year’s shot. Due to the flu season starting in autumn, it is recommended for everyone to receive their flu vaccine before the end of October, but we will still have them available to administer throughout the season for our patients and their parents. Call us today to schedule an appointment for the whole family!
For more information on the flu vaccine, view this video from the AAP.
COMMITTEE ON INFECTIOUS DISEASES; Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2023–2024. Pediatrics 2023; e2023063772. 10.1542/peds.2023-063772