Flu Vaccination for Children
How a Flu Vaccine Protects Your Child
There are many strains (types) of flu viruses. Medical experts predict which 3 strains are most likely to make people sick each year. Flu vaccines are made from these strains. With the shot, inactivated (“killed”) flu viruses are injected into your child’s body. With the nasal spray, live and weakened viruses are sprayed into your child’s nose. The viruses in both vaccines cannot make your child sick. But they do prompt the body to make antibodies to fight these flu strains. If your child is exposed to the same strains later in the flu season, the antibodies will fight off the virus. Your healthcare provider can tell you which type of flu vaccine is right for your child.
Who Should Get the Flu Vaccination
Most children 6 months and older can get vaccinated, especially those in the following high-risk groups:
Children 2 years or older who have a chronic health problem (such as diabetes or asthma)
Children 2 years or older on long-term aspirin therapy
In addition, caregivers and household contacts of children younger than 6 months should also get vaccinated.
Note: If your child is getting the flu vaccine for the first time, he or she will receive two doses. The second dose will be given 28 days or more after the first dose.
Who Can’t Get a Flu Vaccination?
Babies 6 months or younger
Children who have had bad reactions to flu vaccination (including Guillain-Barré syndrome)
Children severely allergic to eggs
A child who has a high fever (the vaccine can be given after the fever goes away)