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Pediatricians issue flu vaccine guidelines for kids

September 05, 2011|By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
  • Families wait in line for seasonal flu shots in Los Angeles, October 2009. Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued vaccination guidelines for this flu season.
Families wait in line for seasonal flu shots in Los Angeles, October 2009.… (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles…)

The American Academy of Pediatrics released updated flu vaccine recommendations last week.

Even though this season's vaccine protects against the same three strains of influenza as last year's -- Influenza A (H3N2), Influenza A (H1N1) and Influenza B -- parents are advised to vaccinate their children again this year. That's because the vaccine only offers optimal protection for six to 12 months, according to the AAP.

This season is just the fourth time in a quarter of a century that the vaccine has stayed the same for a second year.

No doubt kids will find these recommendations a bummer, but there is an upside: For many, one dose of the vaccine, which is available as an injection or as a nose spray, will do the trick.

Children 9 years old and up will need only one dose; the same goes for kids 6 months to 8 years old who received the vaccine last year. Those who didn't get the vaccine last season will need two doses.  Babies younger than 6 months should not get the vaccine.

Children with mild egg allergy can get the flu vaccine safely at their doctor’s office, the recommendations state. Kids with more severe egg allergies should check with an allergist first. Parents should get their children vaccinated in the early fall, or as soon as the vaccine becomes available, according to the recommendations.

The AAP has published more information about the flu for parents and caregivers here.

More information on this year's flu vaccine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is available here.

This season's vaccine is already available.  The website www.flu.gov offers a (not-yet-activated-this-season) Google widget that can help find convenient locations where you can get the vaccine.

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