Kids should get a 2019 flu shot before Halloween. But some parents are skeptical it works (2024)

Kids should get a 2019 flu shot before Halloween. But some parents are skeptical it works (1)

Seems like flu season just ended.

It did. Last year, the flu season set a record as the longest-running in a decade,petering out around April,andled to record-breaking hospitalizations. But with flu season starting in October,theAmerican Academy of Pediatricsrecommends that early vaccination is vitalfor children.

"You won't be fully protected for about two weeks after you get the shot," said Dr.JeanMoorjani, a pediatrician atOrlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital. "What I say to patients is to try and get your appointment by Halloween."

In a policy updatepublished this week in "Pediatrics," the organization advised thatchildren ages 6 months and olderget a flu vaccinationnow to protect against the virus.

More:Flu Symptoms 2019: Should I take my kid to the doctor for the flu?

Some parents don't see the urgency with more than half reporting in a recent survey that they believe the vaccination causes theflu.

Flu vaccine 2019-20 recommendations

  • Healthy children should receive the shotno later than the end of October.
  • Unlike last year, the organization says either the nasal spray or shot is acceptable.
  • Pregnant women may receive the vaccine at any time during their pregnancy. Postpartum women are encouraged to get the vaccine before they are discharged from the hospital. Receiving the vaccine while breastfeeding is considered safe for the infant.

Is one shot enough?

For most every child, one shot is all he or she will need.

Children 6 months up to 8 yearsoldmay need two doses if they are receiving a flu vaccine for the first time or if a child has not received two doses before July 1, 2019, for any reason. The interval between the two doses should be at least four weeks. Doctors advise starting vaccination as soon as possible to finish both doses by the end of October.

Children ages 9 and older require only one dose, regardless of their vaccination history.

Moorjani said that even if we have another unusually long flu season, an early vaccine should protect against the strain of flu virus all season. Some vaccinesare better "matches" to the flu than other years, which is why parents will see a low percentage of effectiveness in some years, she said.

"Even if it's on the lower end, it's not a reason to notget the vaccine," Moorjani said. "You're priming your body to fight should it get exposed.So I want people to know, yes, you can get the flu vaccine and be exposed to the flu and still get sick. But your body will be protected. You might get a fever of 100 or 101, not 105. And you'll be sick three to five days, not seven."

Kids should get a 2019 flu shot before Halloween. But some parents are skeptical it works (2)

Children flu deaths and parent vaccine doubts

There were 129children's flu deaths in 2018-19.Of the 186 children's flu deaths in2017-18,about80% of the children who diedwere not vaccinated.

Last year, a survey by theOrlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital found that parentsresist the flu vaccine because of beliefs at odds with the medical community.

The most shocking is that out of the 700 parents with children under the age of 18, more than 50% believed thattheir child couldget the flu from the flu shot. Another third said the vaccine didn't work.

Other findings included that 30% thought the flu shot is a conspiracy and28%said the flu vaccine caused autism.

Moorjani said she tries to educate people on previous studiesto assail fears about the flu vaccine.

"Really the best source is to talk to a doctor you trust or turn to the CDC, rather than crowd sourcing or social media because you can always find someone to back up what you believe, whether it's true or not," she said.

Where can I find the flu vaccine?

For parents with pediatricians, they need to make an appointment, or some officeshave drop-in availability on certain days.

There exists plenty other places to go receive the vaccine with a health care provider in a medical setting.Flu vaccinesare covered by most insurance plans and vaccines canbe received during pharmacy hours. Try these:

CDC Vaccine Finder

The CDC offers anonline flu vaccine finder. Put in your ZIP code to find a listing of flu shot providers near you.

CVS Pharmacy's Minute Clinic

Find a location near youandschedule an appointment. If you don't have insurance, the the websitesays shots are available for $50.

Rite Aid

The website is advertising that flu shots are now available with no appointmentnecessary.

Walgreens Healthcare Clinic

Find all the informationabout getting a flu shotandschedule an appointment.


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Kids should get a 2019 flu shot before Halloween. But some parents are skeptical it works (2024)
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