Nation’s pediatricians say the best way to protect children against flu is the vaccine.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children ages 6 months and older are vaccinated for influenza for the 2019-2020 season, preferably by the end of October, with either the flu shot or the nasal spray vaccine.
Either the flu shot or the nasal spray vaccine.
The AAP expresses no preference for the shot or the nasal spray vaccine this season, in accordance with guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The best way to keep children healthy and in school is to get the flu vaccine by the end of October,” said Flor Munoz, MD, FAAP, member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. “The flu virus is unpredictable, spreads easily and can cause serious illness, so we urge vaccination in children and adolescents to protect them, their family and community, as well.”
The annual flu vaccine significantly reduces a child’s risk of severe influenza and death, especially in children younger than 5 years old and those with underlying medical conditions, according to the AAP. As of Aug. 10, the United States CDC reported 129 influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2018-2019 season. During the 2017-18 season, the CDC estimated that 80 percent of the 186 children who died from flu-associated complications had not been vaccinated against influenza.
This year, all influenza vaccines will be quadrivalent vaccines, to protect against the four strains of the influenza virus expected to circulate this season, including two A and two B strains. All licensed vaccines contain the same influenza viruses. The quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV4) is available for intramuscular injection for everyone 6 months of age and older, including healthy persons and those with high-risk conditions; the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV4) is a nasal spray mist that is also appropriate for healthy children 2 years of age and older.