Pediatrics

Flu Vaccinations for Children: What You Need to Know

Dec 8 • 2014
Flu Vaccinations for Children: What You Need to Know

With so many germs passed between children at school, during extracurricular activities, and on play dates, it is easy for kids to get the flu during this time of year. The flu vaccine can help prevent this, and it is recommended that the shot be administered to people who are at least six months old. Many people have questions about the vaccination, so we have answers to the most common concerns below.

  1. Why should children get vaccinated?Children are at a higher risk of severe complications from getting the flu, especially if they are under five years old. Because their immune systems are still developing and learning how to fight off germs, the flu vaccine is the best way to help protect children against those complications.
  2. If my child got the flu shot last year, does he need to get one again?Yes. The flu has a variety of strains, so just because your child was protected last year, it does not mean he is protected this year. Not only do the strains change over time, but the response that your antibodies provide will also decline over time.
  3. How many doses of the vaccine does a child need?There are two different options you can choose from when it comes to getting the flu vaccination for your child. The flu shot is given by injection, typically in the arm. The nasal flu vaccine is sprayed into the nose instead of by injection.Children who are six months to eight years old that are receiving the flu shot for the first time should receive two doses. This will maximize their immune response. If your child received the shot last year, one dosage is all that is needed this year. However, it is important to speak with your doctor each year as different strains may have evolved since the last time your child received the vaccine.
  4. What about my child who is under six months old?Babies that are younger than six months cannot receive the flu shot, but you can still protect them by receiving the shot yourself. This prevents you from spreading germs to your baby. Anyone else who is in close contact with your child should also stay away if they are sick.

Visit our website to find out additional ways that you can protect your child during flu season.