Every year we have some sort of complication in trying to vaccinate our patients against influenza. This year is no different. Shipping delays have lead to problems this year. Of course it’s not new that pharmacies get their vaccine shipments before individual physician offices. Dr. Smith of Partners In Pediatrics wrote about this way back in 2013. She, along with many of us, remain frustrated year after year.
We finally have received sufficient amounts of influenza vaccine to have flu vaccines clinics, so it’s time to review all of this years recommendations. I’ll be summarizing the AAP’s Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children below. (COMMITTEE ON INFECTIOUS DISEASES. Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2019–2020. Pediatrics. 2019;144(4):e20192478).
I’ve addressed all the reasons to not vaccinate previously.
Don’t presume your kids can simply take medicine to feel better if they get the flu. The antiviral medicines don’t work well and have side effects. It’s safer and more effective to get the vaccine.
If your kids are afraid of shots, take a look at these ways to help them not be so scared.
Recommendations for Influenza Vaccination 2019-2020
- All children over 6 months of age without medical contraindications should get a vaccine to prevent influenza. (Legitimate contraindications to the influenza vaccine.)
- There is no preference over the injectable vaccine (inactivated vaccine) or nasal vaccine (live attenuated vaccine) as long as it is age appropriate. *Note: There is a significant shortage of the nasal vaccine, so do not wait for it. It is highly likely that you will not be able to find it this season.
- There are now formulations of inactivated flu vaccines that have the same dose for everyone over 6 months of age. (Previously 6-36 months had a smaller dose and those 36 months and over got a larger dose.) This should make the availability of the dose your child needs more likely.
- Children 6 months to 9 years of age who have received no previous influenza vaccine or only 1 dose before July 1, 2019, should receive 2 doses of influenza vaccine. Think of the first-ever dose in young children as a primer dose. A booster dose is needed every season. Everyone under 9 years of age getting vaccinated for the first time needs their primer dose and a booster dose at least 4 weeks later. Children who have previously received ≥2 total doses of influenza vaccine at least 4 weeks apart before July 1, 2019, require only one dose for 2019–20. The 2 doses of influenza vaccine do not have to have been administered in the same season or consecutive seasons. If they had only 1 flu vaccine before July 1, 2019, they need 2 doses this season.
- Vaccines should be offered as soon as they become available and ideally will be given by Halloween. (I have concerns with this statement because of the shipping delays previously mentioned. If it is later than Halloween and your family has not yet been vaccinated, it is NOT too late. Get the vaccine – even if your family has already had the flu this year. You can get different strains in the same season!)
Flu Vaccine Season 2018-2019 reviews many common concerns that apply to this season as well.