Why To Get A Flu Shot (Cliff Notes):
Influenza causes more hospitalizations than any other vaccine-preventable illness. It’s not just kids at risk for complications (asthmatics, diabetics, children with complex heart disease or immune problems) that die from the flu. Nearly 1/2 the children who died in this last year in the US were well, healthy children. PREVENT influenza, get a flu shot for all the members of your family. Although the flu vaccine dose is the same as last year, it’s recommended we all get a dose this season. For children who didn’t have a dose last year under the age of 9: they need 2 doses this year, separated by 1 month.
Links worth reviewing:
10 Things To Know About Influenza
Seasonal Influenza 2011-2012 from the AAP
Summary describing CDC data on complications and deaths from Influenza this past year
Flu Information from Seattle Childrens
ERRATA: I said that 46% of all children who died between Aug 2010 and Aug 2011 were healthy kids. The correct number is even higher: 49% of the 115 children who died in the US were healthy children without significant flu risks. My apologies.
Catherine Kunkel says
Thanks for this helpful article! Moma Doc is great! While my husband and I always get our flu shots early–as soon as they are available, why do we have to wait–sometimes until the end of Oct or later before our pediatrician offers flu shots for our 11 year old daughter? When I’ve asked her doc to explain the delay, his staff’s answers range from “that’s when pediatric doses become available from the Dept of Health” to this year’s “that’s when our ped docs recommend they be giving.” So what’s the real answer about when children should receive? Why does it take so long for ped doses to be available each season and can you recommend another place to get ped flu shots now? I don’t want her to have to wait for a month+ to get the shot.
115 kids died… in King County? In the US? At Children’s?
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
115 deaths in the US. I changed the text on the blog to clarify this as well. Click on the above links for more data from the CDC.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Now is the time to get a flu shot. The protection from the yearly flu shot lasts at least 7-9 months for children after flu shots so as the season for influenza is late fall through March/April, now is a time to get shots for the 2011-12 season.
This year it is earlier than usual! We had flu shot avail in my clinic earlier than ever before. I’ve been immunizing my pediatric patients for over 2 weeks already. Getting a flu shot now and from here forward will do a great job protecting your child and your family for the 2011-2012.
Most clinics have peds flu shots now but it is certainly okay to get them in October. Seattle Children’s has them for patients (ever been seen at SCH) and their siblings so you can get them here as well. Most peds offices are already getting their peds flu doses this season so I recommend you call your child’s office.
My five year old just had his yearly flu shot on Friday (as well as several other vaccines at his 5 year well visit). We left the doc’s office around 10am and by 2pm he was complaining of a very sore throat. When I checked his temp a few hours later, he had one of about 100.5. I went into a panic knowing that kids are supposed to be healthy when they have their vaccinations. He didn’t complain of not feeling well at the doc appt. and when the doc did his well visit checkup, he didn’t mention anything not being right.
I called the nurses line to ask if him not feeling well/temperature would hinder the efficacy of the vaccines he received that day. She said it was possible depending on the severity of his temperature.
What are your views? I’m guessing that he was developing a cold but didn’t have any symptoms at the time of the shots. Do I need to worry that the shots aren’t going to do their job? I’m prone to worrying so any feedback would be helpful.
P.S. His little sis had a temp the day before, so we rescheduled her flu shot for this week.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
He will be able to respond to the immunization well, despite coming down with a different virus/cold. We encounter hundreds to thousands of mold, fungus, bacteria, and virus just walking around on planet earth, touching the dirt, and eating fresh fruits and veggies every single day. The main reason to delay vaccination in the face of fever (over 101.5) is not for fear of the vaccine working, rather not wanting to confuse the diagnostic picture down the road if the child develops fever or other symptoms from vaccine. Also, on a practical point, just like your worry and story illuminate, the last thing we want to do to our little loves is make them feel additional symptoms when unwell! I often will have families schedule a follow-up for the following week with the RN for shots only if a child has a temp at the visit. Further, with the live virus (nasal Flumist) we recommend not giving if children has temp over 100.4. Talk w your child’s pediatrician if you remain worried. Hope you all feel better shortly!
To further explain, after the sore throat subsided, the congestion and coughing followed. So, he is recovering from a cold with a mild temp that fluctuates between 99 and 101.
Thank you! Love your blog! 🙂
I was curious of your opinion about the H1N1 vaccine?
My son is a severe asthmatic with a dairy allergy. At age one he recieved the flu shot and H1N1 shot. From that weekend on he was severely sick. We were in and out of the emergency room weekly, there was one ambulance call, and 2 hospitalizations all due to not being able to breath. Multiple testing of H1N1, pnemonia,& bronchitis were uncertain. He continued like this from November till July the following year.
My son is now three and my husband and I have different opinions on getting him both these shots this year. We did not last year and also had a healthy child all year.
Do you think these shots could have induced or caused his sickness? Does his asthma or allergy make him respond differently to these shots? I have had so many mixed answers I don’t know what to do and cold season is upon us. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time!
As a first time mom, I read a lot online to help make informed decisions about the best way to care for my son (he is 13 months old). I have read a few ‘mommy’ blogs where very young kids have had reactions after the flu shot – specifically febrile seizures. I found this link on the CDC https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Vaccines/MMRV/qa_FebrileSeizures.html (see section on “Is there an increased risk for febrile seizures after children receive a flu vaccine”). Our pediatrician offered to give my son the flu shot while he got his 12 month immunizations, and I declined – it felt like too much. I now have this fear of the flu shot for him – I feel like I could protect him from the flu (or at least keep it from getting too serious if he did contract it), when I know I could not protect him from polio, etc. Many reactions are if kids had some underlying infection, but the parents never knew that before giving them the flu shot. Any thoughts on kids being a little older (say, over 2) before getting the flu shot?
PS – I can’t thank you enough for your blog!!
I meant to also ask the obvious question of if you recommend delaying the flu shot and not combining it with specific vaccinations. Thanks!