Pediatricians: Kids should get flu vaccine as soon as possible

Sept. 4, 2013 at 1:50 AM
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ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all U.S. children ages 6 months or older be immunized against influenza as soon as the vaccine is available.

The AAP's updated influenza recommendations in a policy statement, "Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2013-2014," were published online ahead of the October print issue of the journal Pediatrics.

This year there will be a new quadrivalent influenza vaccine, which contains the same three strains as the trivalent vaccine, plus an additional B strain. Although this might offer improved protection, the AAP does not give preference for one type of flu vaccine over another.

"Parents should not delay vaccinating their children to obtain a specific vaccine," lead author Dr. Henry Bernstein, a pediatrician, said in a statement. "Influenza virus is unpredictable, and what's most important is that people receive the vaccine soon, so that they will be protected when the virus begins circulating."

A special effort should be made to vaccinate people in vulnerable groups, including children with chronic health conditions, children of American Indian or Alaskan Native heritage, healthcare workers, women who are pregnant, might become pregnant or are breastfeeding, and household contacts and caregivers of children in high-risk populations, the AAP said.

Research shows most people who have an egg allergy could receive the inactivated influenza vaccine, but although inactivated vaccine given as a single, age-appropriate dose is well-tolerated by all recipients who have an egg allergy, pediatricians should consult with an allergist for any child with history of a severe reaction, the group said.

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