Some young children may need only 1 flu shot this year
September 1st, 2011
05:36 PM ET

Some young children may need only 1 flu shot this year

It may sound like the same old mantra – time to get your flu shot. But in their official seasonal guidelines, America's pediatricians would like you to know that a few things are different this time around.

Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  began recommending that everyone (with few exceptions) older than 6 months of age get a flu vaccine. It’s the same for the upcoming flu season.

What’s also the same is the configuration of the influenza vaccine. The same three strains (A/California/7/2009 (H1N1), A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2), B/Brisbane/60/2008) that were part of last year’s flu vaccine are in this year's doses. It's only the fourth time in 25 years, that there hasn’t been a need for change, according to the AAP recommendations released Thursday.

As a result, some children who would normally need two flu vaccines, only need one dose this year, IF they got vaccinated last year. Usually, children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years need to get two vaccines given four weeks apart.

However if your child didn’t receive any flu vaccine last year, then two vaccinations will still be necessary. Children age 9 and older need only one flu vaccination, and children younger than six months cannot be vaccinated.

Young children under age 5 with chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes or neurologic conditions really need to get vaccinated, according to the AAP, because they are more likely to get seriously ill if they get the flu.

Another thing that’s new in  this year's recommendations affects children with mild egg allergies. “Recent studies have shown that children with a mild egg allergy can safely receive a flu vaccine without a need for any allergist consultation,” says Dr. Henry Bernstein, a professor of Pediatrics at the Hofstra Northshore-LIJ School of Medicine in New York and a spokesperson for the AAP. Bernstein says mild reactions are defined as hives alone.

Flu vaccines are grown in eggs, which is why they pose a concern for those with egg allergies, but this year’s recommendations suggest that those with mild allergies can safely get a flu shot in their pediatrician’s office, without following up with a trip to an allergist to be tested for any allergic reactions. This does not apply to children who have severe egg allergies.

Another first is a new type of flu shot that was approved for the 2011-2012 flu season. It’s an intradermal vaccine with a 90% shorter needle than the traditional flu shot, which was longer so it could  go all the way into the muscle. Unfortunately only older children can get this shot at this time – it’s been approved only for people ages 18 – 64 because it hasn’t been tested on younger kids yet, says Bernstein. But it could make the flu shot a little less scary for older patients.

For many who really do not like needles, there’s also the nasal flu spray vaccine option. Unlike the flu shot, which contains a dead virus to build up your immune system, the flu spray contains a mild, weakened live virus. It’s approved for anyone between the ages of 2 and 49 who does not have severe egg allergies and is not at high risk for complications of flu. Children under 5 who are at risk for wheezing, pregnant women and those who have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome and anyone who has nasal congestion cannot get the flu spray either.

People older than 65 can also have the option of a high-dose flu shot.

In recent years, flu season has hit hard at the beginning of the year and the CDC says flu season usually runs from October through May. But you can get the flu at any time, which is why the CDC and the AAP recommend getting a vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

You won’t get full protection until about two weeks after the injection, which is why health officials recommend getting vaccinated early. According to the CDC and AAP, manufacturers will have at least 160 million doses of flu vaccine available for this flu season and they have already begun shipping doses, so some doctors may already have vaccines in their offices.

In an effort to make it easier for more people to get the vaccine and therefore contribute to the “cocooning effect” around those who cannot get it themselves, the AAP recommends pediatricians consider immunizing parents and adult caregivers at the same time of the child’s office visit.

soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. TigerPharmD

    I give it 10 mins before the FluShot propaganda gets posted here. Don't buy into the propaganda and get your flu shot

    September 1, 2011 at 21:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well, it took a little longer than 10 minutes, but that's probably because the imbeciles have to move their lips when they read.

      September 2, 2011 at 21:49 | Report abuse |
  2. Kelly

    you couldn't pay me to get one of these disgusting shots. never. i've had the flu once in the last 10 years without any help from a gross shot.

    September 2, 2011 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do explain in detail what, exactly, is "gross" or "disgusting" about a vaccination. Thanks in advance.

      September 2, 2011 at 21:44 | Report abuse |
  3. RS

    Flu vaccine propaganda has been in the works for a long time, that is how to promote flu vaccines for healthy people who don't really need them. Here's the CDC's 7 step recipe for generating interest and demand for the flu vaccine.


    September 2, 2011 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Sarah

    All vaccines should have Mr Yuck stickers on them. According to Hugh Fudenberg, MD, the world's leading immunogeneticist and 13th most quoted biologist of our times (nearly 850 papers in peer review journals): If an individual has had 5 consecutive flu shots between 1970 and 1980 (the years studied) his/her chances of getting Alzheimer's Disease is 10 times higher than if he/she had one, 2 or no shots. Dr. Fudenberg said it was so and that it was due to mercury and aluminum that is in every flu shot. The gradual mercury and aluminum buildup in the brain causes cognitive dysfunction.

    Flu shots contain 25 micrograms of mercury. One microgram is considered toxic.

    September 2, 2011 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      September 2, 2011 at 21:46 | Report abuse |
    • Johan

      To bad they stopped the Mr.Yuck program,

      September 12, 2011 at 13:39 | Report abuse |
  5. real health

    Looks like the only safe place for mercury is the blood streams of children. Flu shots have never been shown to work!! If flu shots were so great then why has the incidence of flu infection gone up since the introduction of the flu shot? The CDC should stop lying to the public and really report the true number of deaths from the flu alone, and stop combining the amount of deaths from the flu and pneumonia.

    September 2, 2011 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Parachutes and seat belts don't prevent 100% of fatalities or serious injuries, either. Do you have a point?

      September 2, 2011 at 21:47 | Report abuse |
  6. Jill PharmD

    Children only need two doses if it is the very FIRST time they are receiving the vaccine.

    September 2, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rosario

      to avoid the very appearance of evil. why would we as chtisrian people with attributes of the God of Glory sit down and feel comfortable sipping wine and then be so ignorant as to say God condoned it. that is not the God that i serve..that is not His attribute..that is not His character. lets not get herbal remedies mixed up with alcohol..two absoulutely different things.

      November 14, 2012 at 17:47 | Report abuse |
  7. twinsand2more

    It's called Vit. D3.....we give it to our kids all winter long! They have NEVER had the flu......

    September 2, 2011 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And I have two cats and drink wine every day and have never had shingles. So what? Your anecdotes are irrelevant.

      September 2, 2011 at 21:48 | Report abuse |
    • Jill PharmD

      Agreed @Tom, Tom.

      September 2, 2011 at 22:24 | Report abuse |
  8. RS

    The cause for seizures in young Australian children following seasonal flu vaccination last year has been blamed on blending swine flu with two other flu viruses and not because the CSL vaccine was contaminated.

    Friday, 02 Sept 2011: http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpps/health/pharma-blames-vaccine-for-causing-fits-in-children-dpgonc-20110902-kh_14845580

    September 3, 2011 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RS

    CSL's explanation for the alarming side-effects could have implications for other brands of flu vaccine, as all of them combine the same three viruses selected by the WHO.


    September 3, 2011 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RS

    The US had the same problem with last year's vaccine. U.S. probing seizures reported after Sanofi flu shot:


    September 3, 2011 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RS

    Last winter the likelihood that a child without risk factors would die from swine flu was less than one in a million.2 When such a high proportion of children develop moderate to severe febrile reactions to the influenza vaccine, more harm than good seems likely from vaccinating them.


    September 3, 2011 at 11:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The BMJ published this: Swine flu vaccine is a “thousandfold” safer than the infection, say experts
      Oliver Ellis
      + Author Affiliations

      Experts this week played down the risk of adverse effects from the forthcoming swine flu vaccine, saying that even in the worse case scenario people would be a “thousandfold better off” having the jab than the disease.

      Concerns have previously been raised that the vaccine may carry a risk of causing Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune condition that attacks the peripheral nervous system, in rare cases causing permanent paralysis or death. The fears largely stem from the 1976-7 flu season in the United States, when a vaccine was withdrawn after a spike in cases of the neurological disease, but doubt has now been cast on whether the flu vaccine was actually responsible.

      September 4, 2011 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
  12. Samuel

    How much does the pharmaceutical industry pay you Tom Tom?

    September 4, 2011 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Since I don't work for one, not a dime. Do you think that someone must be taking money from a pharmaceutical company to have common sense and the slightest knowledge of the hard science behind vaccinations?

      Yeah, you probably do.

      September 4, 2011 at 15:21 | Report abuse |
  13. RS

    Narcolepsy link to swine flu vaccine established – VICTIMS TO GET COMPENSATION

    Each of those who came down with narcolepsy after getting the Pandemrix vaccine were found to have an inherited trait that increased the risk of narcolepsy. This will not reduce a victim's chances of getting compensation. It will actually strengthen the overall grounds for compensation.

    The link of narcolepsy with a genetic risk reinforces the idea that this is a process that requires external irritants to the immune system. Genetic factors are not the only cause of narcolepsy. Up to 30 per cent of Finns have the genetic, but very few ever actually get the disease. When the disease unexpectedly increases so much, it is logical to think that the external factor in these cases was the vaccine.

    Source: http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Narcolepsy+link+to+swine+flu+vaccine+established+-+victims+to+get+compensation+/1135269054227

    September 5, 2011 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hintofgray

      And this proves what, exactly? That there are risks to getting any vaccine? Or more: to having ANY medical procedure or treatment?

      So what?

      Do the risks outweigh the benefits? Not even a close call.

      Get vaccinated.

      September 5, 2011 at 21:51 | Report abuse |
  14. RS

    Flu vaccination is largely ineffective [despite what Government "health" officials want you to believe. Flu Vaccine Caused 3587 US Miscarriages & Stillbirths. Using the US Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), including updates through July 11, 2010 as a second ascertainment source, capture-recapture statistical methods were used to estimate the true number of miscarriages and stillbirths following A-H1N1 flu vaccination in the U.S.


    September 6, 2011 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Baloney. You're using a blog as evidence?

      Your very first sentence in this post is a dead giveaway that you're nothing but an anti-vax conspiracy theorist nut-case.

      Really, you guys are a hoot.

      September 6, 2011 at 09:52 | Report abuse |
  15. c

    flu shots , big hoax, what a fraud.

    flu shots won't keep one from getting the flu, hint , different strains of flu circulate in a given season, the so called experts are busy guessing what strains to put into the shot.

    not ever getting a stupid flu shot same deal with pertussis shots.

    both vaccines suck, staying far away and not buying into the lies of the CDC and other so called experts.

    October 6, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
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