Contributor: Hanan Nashed, MD
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If you’re waiting to get your kids the flu vaccine, plan on getting it as soon as possible. Vaccines being introduced this year are available now.
Flu season can last anywhere from October to March. Because the influenza virus itself can strike at any time in the year, pediatricians really want to make sure that we get kids in right away.
New vaccines have more protection
The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommends all children ages 6 months or older get the flu vaccine immediately.
This year’s vaccines include:
- The trivalent vaccine which protects against three strains of the virus
- The new quadrivalent vaccine which protects against four strains
Specifics about these vaccines and other vaccination information are on the Centers for Disease Control website.
The AAP is recommending both of them — but they’re also saying not to wait for one or the other. Despite the added protection, the AAP doesn’t give preference for one type of flu vaccine over another.
5 Common Flu Vaccine Questions
Kids age 2 and older can get nasal spray instead
You and your 2-year-old will be happy to hear she may be able to avoid a shot because she’s eligible for the vaccine in a nasal mist spray.
Children who are 2 and older can get the nasal spray if they don’t have:
- Any respiratory conditions
- Severe nasal congestion
- An illness
Vaccine for adults and kids with egg allergies
More good news. For those children and adults with an egg allergy, the AAP is recommending that they be vaccinated with the flu vaccine in their pediatrician’s office as long as the reaction is minor, such as a non-hives type of rash, vomiting or diarrhea.
For those children and adults with severe reactions (anaphylaxis or hives), it is still recommended to see your allergist and discuss the vaccines with him or her.
The CDC is working hard to avoid a shortage of vaccine, so they are pledging to produce between 135 and 139 million flu vaccine doses.
5 Top Flu Vaccine Myths
Why you should be vaccinated too
Though infants under 6 months are too young to be given vaccinations, we can protect these babies by surrounding them with adults and siblings who have been vaccinated against influenza.
If you are pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant or have a child or grandchild less than 6 months of age, the AAP recommends being vaccinated in order to protect yourself and your baby.