The American Academy of Pediatrics Emphasizes the Need to get the Flu Shot this Year

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a policy statement regarding the need for influenza vaccine for the 2011-2012 flu season.

Even though this year’s vaccine contains the same strains as last year’s, immunity can decrease by 50% in a year’s time. This means that even if someone had the flu shot last year, they may well still be susceptible to catching it this year.

It is recommended for everyone over 6 months of age. It is particularly important for all children under age 5 years as well as children of any age with high risk conditions such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. It is also of great importance that family-members, household contacts and child care providers of these children also receive the vaccine.

The same policy statement also strongly urges all women who are pregnant, who may become pregnant or who are breastfeeding during the 2011-2012 flu season to be immunized as well.

The statement further clarifies that the flu vaccine is generally safe for children with mild egg allergy (the virus is grown in eggs although nearly all egg protein is removed during the production process).

Children 6 months of age to 8 years will need two doses of the vaccine one month apart if they did not get the flu vaccine last year, otherwise they and children over age 9 will need only one dose this year.

We have about 34,000 deaths a year from the flu in the US, with the elderly and the young most affected. Please do keep your child safe and get them immunized!
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