Many of my friends are beginning to take their children in for flu shots and leaving confused as to why they need to go back for a second shot in a month. I have even had a few people express concern over giving their children a “double dose” of the vaccine. I assume if this is a common question among my group of friends there are others out there wondering the same thing.
To start, let’s make sure we all know the recommendations for our children’s flu vaccines.
- Has the child ever received an influenza vaccine? If the answer is no (or I don’t know) then vaccine with two doses given at least 4 weeks apart.
- Has the child received 2 or more doses since July 1, 2010? If the answer is no (or I don’t know) then vaccinate with two doses given at least 4 weeks apart.
- Is the child 9 years or older or is he/she younger than 9 but has documentation showing at least 2 prior vaccinations, at least one of which contained H1N1? If yes then vaccinate with one dose.
Since 2006 the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that all children under the age of nine get two doses of the flu vaccine the first year they are vaccinated against the flu. Why is this second dose needed? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) many children younger than 9 years of age may not have truly suffered from influenza and a booster dose is necessary for their bodies to produce a protective immune response. A second shot is basically a safety net to help adequately protect the child. While the first dose provides some protection, fully vaccinating with the second dose really is crucial.
If you are thinking about only giving your child the initial dose of the flu vaccine (assuming they fall into the recommended category for receiving the booster) it is important to remember that young children are at a higher risk of developing flu related complications. These complications range in severity but can include pneumonia and bronchitis and have the potential to be life-threatening and can even result in death in some cases. Taking your child in for a second flu shot (and probably a second round of tears) may not be on the top of your “Fun Things To Do” list, but it really is the best way to protect them from the flu this season. Lets help our children be as strong as possible…get them their “Super Booster” today!