Should my child get a Flu shot??
Every year, we are asked this question, and as many of you have noticed, our response varies from “sure” to a bit of a shrug. As pediatricians, we STRONGLY support vaccination-it is well established that vaccines are both safe and highly effective, and they represent one of the major advances in public health in the last century.
Is the flu shot different? While there is no question that it is safe-side effects are mild and are usually limited to soreness at the injection site and occasionally low grade fever, the issue is that the flu shot has limited effectiveness-typically 40-60% or possibly less. This lower effectiveness is what makes some physicians less than enthusiastic about this vaccine. Although there is emerging evidence that the nasal mist it is significantly less effective than the injection, we will be carrying a limited supply.
The term “flu” is used too loosely. The flu shot protects against influenza, which is different from cough/colds or “stomach flu” (diarrhea and vomiting). Influenza makes children and adults sicker than these illnesses-most people who get influenza miss a significant amount of time from school and work. The risk of being hospitalized, or developing more serious complications like pneumonia, is more common with the flu compared to most of the routine childhood infections we see.
If your child has any significant medical problems, or there is someone in your family with medical problems or immune compromise (including newborn babies), the flu shot is a good idea. If you are concerned about missing time from work/school, take the 50% chance the shot is effective and go ahead and vaccinate, at worst it won’t work.
Sorry for the lengthy discussion-just trying to explain the shrug.
Flu shots and nasal mist are available….click on the walk in tab to find out our flu shot clinic hours…..