Pediatric Influenza Vaccinations
Influenza infections can be very dangerous for young children. Severe, even life-threatening, complications are most common for children under the age of two. Children five and under often need medical treatment if they contract the flu—20,000 of these kids are hospitalized each year. The US Center for Disease Control estimated more than 150 children died from the flu during the 2012-2013 influenza season.
Although these statistics are alarming, prevention methods exist for pediatric influenza. Protecting your child from the flu through vaccination is the best way to prevent serious illness or death from pediatric influenza. Learn the difference between pediatric influenza symptoms and signs of a cold here.
Flu Vaccines for Children
Each year researchers identify which influenza strands are most likely to be prevalent during the upcoming influenza season. With this information, they develop vaccines to protect against the most likely strands of influenza. Each vaccine protects against three or four different strands: influenza A (H1N1), influenza A (H3N2), an influenza B virus, and sometimes an additional B virus. (Your pediatrician can tell you which vaccination is best for your son or daughter.)
It is recommended that everyone over the age of six months should receive the influenza vaccine every year. Getting your child vaccinated annually against influenza is the best way to prevent an infection. It is also important that parents, family members, and caregivers receive the influenza vaccine each year to prevent spreading the virus to children—especially to infants under the age of 6 months since they are too young to receive the vaccine.
Some children will require two doses of the influenza vaccine. This includes children who have never received the vaccine before, as well as others. Your doctor can tell you if your child needs more than one dose of the flu vaccine. Children who are not wheezing, or do not have underlying respiratory problems, such as asthma, may also have the option for the spray flu vaccine.
Certain children are at higher risk for developing serious pediatric flu complications. This means it is even more important that they receive the vaccine.
These populations include:
- Children with chronic health conditions including, but not limited to, blood disorders, heart or lung problems, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, metabolic disorders, weakened immune systems, liver disorders, kidney problems, asthma, and endocrine disorders.
- American Indian and Alaskan Native children are more likely to require hospitalization or die from pediatric influenza complications.
- Children between the age of 6 months and 5 years are at higher risk for complications than adults (children under 6 months are not permitted to receive the vaccine).
Pediatric Flu Vaccine Study
Jean Brown Research is conducting a clinical research study for an investigational pediatric flu vaccine. Eligible participants will receive a no-cost flu vaccination, study-related healthcare, and compensation for time and travel.
Basic qualifications include: healthy children between 6 months and 5 years of age who have never received a flu shot and can attend three appointments.
Register to see if your child is eligible for the Jean Brown Research Pediatric Flu Vaccine study.