CDC Recommends All Kids be Vaccinated Against Flu

Sep 12, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- School and day care settings are the most "efficient ways to spread flu in the community," say researchers at Duke Children's Hospital which may explain why the CDC is now recommending that all children -- ages six months to 18 years – obtain a flu vaccine this year.

"If you look at communities, young children are the vector of flu," explains Chip Walter, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Duke. "They bring it home to parents, grandparents and other family members. Studies have already shown that if you vaccinate school-age kids, you can actually reduce disease in adults."

However, since it's difficult to vaccinate that many people in the short fall and winter time frame, Walter says the time to get vaccinated is now when the flu vaccine first becomes available. That's smart, he adds, since you never know when the first case of flu will strike. If you don't get vaccinated early, however, you haven't missed your chance. Walter says is prudent to get vaccinated through December and January since the peak flu month is in February.

Each year, from five to 20 percent of the population gets the flu. About 200,000 people become hospitalized annually due to complications from flu, and 36,000 people die.

In the past, the vaccine was recommended for populations at high risk for contracting influenza including people over the age of 65, anyone with a chronic disease, and children over the age of six months who have underlying medical conditions. The recommendations have expanded in recent years. In 2004, the flu vaccine was routinely recommended for all children 6 to 23 months of age. It was expanded to include children up to the age of 5 years in 2006 and this year includes all children 6 months to 18 years of age.

While lines may be longer, some kids will be happier. Studies show the nasal-spray flu vaccine to be effective in people age two to 49. What's more, the nasal flu vaccine was found to be more effective in young children, while the shot was found more effective in older individuals. Walter also points to recent data which finds its duration of protection to be good through the entire flu season even when administered earlier than usual.

"Adolescents, in particular, are getting so many shots these days. If we can give them one by mist and save a needle, that's great. I like having that alternative for kids."

Some children and high-risk groups cannot receive the nasal flu vaccine for a variety of health-related reasons, so check with your doctor before getting vaccinated.

Provided by Duke University Medical Center

Explore further: 'Mysterious' disease kills 17 in Nigeria: official

Related Stories

How meningitis bacteria 'slip under the radar'

Sep 26, 2013

(Phys.org) —Scientists have discovered a natural temperature sensor in a type of bacteria that causes meningitis and blood poisoning. The sensor allows the bacteria to evade the body's immune response, ...

Making sense of patterns in the Twitterverse

Jun 07, 2013

If you think keeping up with what's happening via Twitter, Facebook and other social media is like drinking from a fire hose, multiply that by 7 billion – and you'll have a sense of what Court Corley wakes up to every morning.

Recommended for you

USDA confirms bird flu at 5th South Dakota turkey farm

Apr 17, 2015

Five commercial turkey farms in South Dakota have now been infected with a bird flu strain that's led to the deaths of more than 250,000 turkeys in the state and over 2.4 million birds in the Midwest.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.