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Flu Vaccine For Children

Flu vaccine for children is one of the most crucial vaccinations every toddler should receive. It is the best way to prevent a toddler from getting seriously ill. Here is some information to help you better understand flu vaccine for children.

Why is flu vaccine for children important?

Children need to get the flu vaccine as a protection against the flu or influenza which is a highly transmittable disease of the respiratory system. Because children under the age of 5 can suffer serious complications from the flu (convulsions, pneumonia and ear infection), some of those children develop more severe illnesses which can lead to death. Getting a toddler immunized for a flu vaccine is the best way to secure a toddler from these lethal complications.

What is the recommended schedule?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends children ages 6 months and older to get the flu vaccine as well as parents, caregivers and anyone who is in close contact with the toddler.

A toddler who is below the age of 9 and has not received the flu vaccine before will need 2 doses a month apart to give his immune system time to react. Only 1 dose of flu vaccine is necessary for children who received the shot before.

What are the types of flu vaccine for children?

There are 2 types of flu vaccine for children – flu shot and nasal spray. Flu shots are given to children 6 months and older. Side effects may include muscle pains, tenderness or redness at the injection site. Nasal spray flu vaccine or FluMist can be given to children below 2 years old who have no record of asthma or wheezing. Side effects such as congestion, cough, fatigue, fever and headache are expected.

Is it effective?

Flu vaccine for children is about 70 to 80 percent effective in preventing a toddler from developing the flu. However, if a toddler is exposed to a strain of the flu that was not integrated in the flu vaccine that year, the shot will be less potent. Also, the flu vaccine supplies no security from other viruses so the flu vaccine will not keep a toddler from getting sick, it will only minimize the probability that he will get the flu.

Are annual flu shots really necessary?

Yes, even if a toddler received a flu vaccine last year, he still has to be immunized for the present year. Annual flu shots for children are needed since there are 3 different strains of flu virus that circulate and change during the flu season (during cold season).

Who should not get the flu vaccine?

Even though flu vaccine for children is very essential, there are still a few exemptions to the rule. Doctors do not prescribe flu vaccines for children who:

  • Are under 6 months of age
  • Suffered an allergic reaction to a previous flu vaccine
  • Are severely allergic to eggs
  • Has a serious disease with fever
  • Has a nervous system disorder

If you have any questions or concerns about flu vaccine for children, do not hesitate to talk to your child health expert.

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