Doctors Recommend Flu Shots for Babies and Children

Doctors Recommend Flu Shots for Babies and Children

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Kim Johnson ReportingGot your flu shot yet? What about your children? Last year doctors recommended the vaccine for babies and kids, and that recommendation stands again this year.

The vaccine actually won't be available at most clinics for another two weeks, but it's a good time for parents to plan or make an appointment not only for themselves, but for their little ones too.

Until last year doctors recommended flu shots for the elderly and those with weakened immunity. But that changed when record numbers of very young children started ending up in hospitals.

Dr. Andrew Pavia, Primary Children's Dir. Of Infection Control: “Looking at those numbers it became very clear that there were a lot of kids ending up in the hospital, very sick because of influenza, and that was preventable. And so that led to a change in approach.”

Last year's big push for parents to vaccinate their young children wasn't as successful as doctors had hoped. Dr. Pavia says in part that's because it was a new idea, but also because the vaccine was in short supply. He says there'll be plenty of it this year.

Dr. Andrew Pavia, Primary Children's Dir. Of Infection Control: "So this year we really want parents to understand that the flu vaccine is safe, it’s effective. It can prevent one of the more serious viral infections kids can get during the winter.”

Flu shots are highly recommended for babies between age six months and two years and for kids who suffer from asthma, other lung disease, heart disease, or cancer. Pavia says vaccinating healthy school age children, who are notorious for spreading germs, is a good idea too.

Dr. Andrew Pavia, Primary Children's Dir. Of Infection Control: “Your six year old may not get very sick with flu, may only miss three days of school, but it might put grandma in the hospital, or might put a six-month old baby brother in the hospital."

Doctor Pavia says it's a good idea for pregnant mother's to get flu shots after their second trimester. He says the vaccine will protect the new baby until it’s about six months old.

As for people who should not get the flu vaccine--anyone who has a severe egg allergies, and anyone who's had guillaume barre syndrome.

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