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This year’s flu vaccine: the Flumist® blues

The back-to-school physical season has ended and pediatric offices around the country have started receiving doses of influenza “flu” vaccine in preparation for flu season. We are now offering flu vaccine to all our patients age six months and older, as well as their parents.

This year, the only vaccine available is the shot. There is no Flumist® available anywhere as it was taken off the market for being less effective than the traditional shot. This is hard on parents and children alike. I feel a pang of pain each time a little one asks for the mist and instead gets the shot.

Nevertheless, influenza vaccine is an important part of the routine immunization schedule for children and adults alike. Each year, influenza affects millions and can be life-threatening, especially in the elderly, children under age 2, and those with special medical needs. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that, each year, more than twenty thousand children under the age of 5 are hospitalized due to the flu. So while it can be tempting to pass on the shot when you’ve had the pleasure of the mist for a few years, please don’t. Better to have the Flumist® blues than influenza.

As a reminder, here are a few tips about flu vaccine in the 2016–2017 season.

  • Babies over age 6 months need 2 separate doses of influenza vaccine given four weeks apart to be considered fully immunized.
  • The flu shot can be given along with your baby’s other routine vaccines.
  • Parents and caretakers of young infants and children need to be immunized.
  • The CDC recommends everyone receive a flu shot by the end of October to maximize protection against the flu.
  • Everyone needs a yearly flu shot. Even if you got one last spring, you need one again. The flu shot changes each flu season to attempt to match the circulating strains of the disease. The 2016–2017 shot is distinct from the 2015–2016 shot.
  • Seasonal flu cases peak in the United States between December and March but the virus be found year round.
  • Pregnant women should receive the seasonal flu vaccine as part of their routine care.
  • If this is your child’s first time being immunized against the flu and they are under age 9, they will be given two doses separated by four weeks.
  • The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. The immunization can cause mild fever and a mild achiness in some people. The disease causes intense cough, congestion, and shaking chills or fever that may or may not include pneumonia and last for a week.

Comments

  1. Thanks, Dr Sara! My kids much prefer the flu mist so I will prepare them for the shot – this week, in fact! I’ll get my own too. Thanks so much for keeping us up to date!

    Reply

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