Kids need flu shots!
Pediatricians recommend all children over the age of 6 months get a yearly flu shot.
In previous years, a nasal spray version of the flu vaccine, FluMist, has been available to parents who wanted to avoid subjecting their children to another needle jab.
But for the last 3 years FluMist has not been nearly as effective as the standard flu shot. So for the 2016-2017 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) are recommending against FluMist for flu prevention.
For the 2016-2017 flu season, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with either the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2016-2017. There is no preference for one vaccine over another among the recommended, approved injectable influenza vaccines.
FluMist was previously recommended for children with egg allergies, as well (vaccines are often grown in chicken eggs), but that is no longer necessary.
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For more information, talk to your kids’ pediatrician or your pharmacist. You can also look on my Resources page for links to children’s health and vaccination information.
Adults need flu shots, too!
FluMist was never recommended for adults, so there is really no change in the recommendation that all adults—including and especially pregnant women—get a seasonal flu shot.
The flu vaccine should be available later this month, and the sooner you get the shot the better.
We never know before the start of flu season if this year’s illness will prove to be mild or deadly, or if the flu will hit hardest in the fall, winter or spring months.
Related post: Know the difference between colds and flu
The vaccine takes about 2 weeks to be fully protective, so your best bet at avoiding the flu is to get the shot as soon as it’s available.
Because flu shots are considered preventive, they should be covered 100% by your health insurance, whether you get the shot at your physician’s office, grocery store or drug store.
As always, however, check with your insurance company first.
For more information about this year’s flu season and vaccine, check out the CDC’s Seasonal Influenza (Flu) page.