Should my child get a flu shot?
Yes! we encourage all our patients who are eligible, including infants age 6 months and older, children and teens, to get vaccinated against the flu. It’s the single best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the flu. In fact, the flu shot not only reduces your child’s risk of getting the flu and lessens symptoms if he or she does get sick, it also helps prevent the flu from spreading to others. Getting vaccinated can also reduce the chances of your child developing complications like pneumonia. Moreover, the flu shot is especially important for infants and children, anyone pregnant (or planning to become pregnant), those over the age of 50, those with a chronic medical condition, and those caring for someone who is at risk for complications of the flu. These special groups are at high risk of serious complications of flu, like hospitalization, pneumonia and even death. The best way to protect your child is for the entire family to get vaccinated against the flu.
Are there special recommendations based on my child’s age?
Yes, some infants are too young to be vaccinated for the flu, while older infants and young children may need 2 flu shots to be completely vaccinated. Here’s the breakdown by age:
- Babies under 6 months are too young to receive the flu vaccine. The best way to protect newborns and young infants is to make sure the people who care for them and spend time with them are vaccinated.
- Between 6 months and 8 years, some children will need 2 doses of the flu vaccine to be protected. If it is the first time your child is receiving the flu vaccine, or if your child has only received one flu vaccine in the past, he or she will need 2 doses of the vaccine this season. It is best to begin with the first dose as early as possible. The second dose should be given at least 28 days after the first dose. Children who need 2 doses, but only receive 1 dose of the vaccine may have reduced or no protection from the flu.
- Children between 6 months to 8 years who have received 2 doses of the flu vaccine in the past, will only need one flu shot this season.
- Children over 8 years old will need one flu shot this season.
When is the best time for my child to get a flu shot?
For children 6 months and up, it’s best to get the flu shot before flu season starts, so we recommend getting vaccinated in September or October when the current season’s vaccine becomes available. It is especially important for children who need 2 doses of the vaccine to start the process early, as the second dose is given at least 28 days after the first.