Yes, it’s August, but now is the time to starting thinking about flu shots, and not the nasal vaccine Flumist, either.
You see, after years of recommending the FluMist for people ages 2 to 49 who did not have other medical complications, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending against FluMist.
In June the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted against using the nasal vaccine for the 2016-2017 season. Why? Data showed it didn’t work, well it did, but only about 3 percent of the time last flu season. “It was pretty much like you didn’t get vaccinated,” says Dr. Shimona B. Thakrar, the director of inpatient pediatrics and newborn nursery at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Round Rock. The flu shot, though, had a 63 percent effectiveness rate.
So, parents, prepare yourself and your children for a shot — and possibly not just one shot.
If your child older than 6 months but younger than 9 years old and has been getting the FluMist instead of the shot, or has never received a flu shot, he won’t have the immunity built up that he’ll need to fight off the flu even after getting a flu shot. Instead he needs two: one shot and then a month later, a second shot. After the second shot,your child should have good protection about two weeks later.
This means that if the flu generally starts happening around October, children need their first shot RIGHT NOW, and then a second one in September. You also want to get the flu shot now to take advantage of good supplies. As people realize that they can no longer get the FluMist, there will be more demand on the shot.
When flu peaks, around January, you’ll still have immunity even if you get your shot now. Even if you do get the flu shot or shots, make sure kids are washing their hands regularly; you, too, parents.
The CDC makes the case for flu shots with these stats:
- Children commonly need medical care because of influenza, especially before they turn 5 years old.
- Severe influenza complications are most common in children younger than 2 years old.
- Children with chronic health problems like asthma, diabetes and disorders of the brain or nervous system are at especially high risk of developing serious flu complications.
- Each year an average of 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized because of influenza complications.
- Flu seasons vary in severity, however some children die from flu each year. Since 2004-2005, flu-related deaths in children reported to CDC during regular flu seasons have ranged from 37 deaths to 171 deaths.