Although there is nothing dramatic or significantly new in this official statement , it will be appearing in many spots in the media, and I thought would be worth posting in its original wording. It essentially encourages flu vaccine for all children six months and up, with particular strong recommendation for certain high risk groups. However the safety of the vaccine, the possiblity of influenza complications at any age, and the benefits of avoidance of school and work absence make it a good idea for the vast majority of children and adults. The statementitself does not deal with the injected versus intranasal forms of immunization, although the link to the AAP influenza information site provides information to assist in this decision. The Academy statement is as follows:
Updated flu vaccine recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stress the importance of getting a new flu shot this season – even for children who received one last year.
The 2011-2012 flu vaccine protects against the same three influenza strains as last year’s vaccine. But because a person’s immunity drops by as much as 50 percent 6-12 months after vaccination, it’s important to receive another dose this year to maintain optimal protection. This is only the fourth time in the past 25 years that the composition of the trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine has remained the same for a second year.
The AAP guidelines are included in the policy statement, “Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2011-2012,” published in the October 2011 print issue of Pediatrics (published online September 1).
The AAP recommends everyone 6 months or older receive influenza vaccine. Special efforts should be made to immunize all family members, household contacts, and out-of-home care providers of children who are younger than 5 years; children with high-risk conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, or neurologic disorders); health care personnel; and all women who are pregnant, considering pregnancy, or breastfeeding during the flu season. These groups are most vulnerable to influenza-related complications.
Most children with a history of mild egg allergy (i.e., hives) can safely receive the influenza vaccine without needing an allergy consultation, but parents should consult an allergist before administering flu vaccine to children with a history of severe egg allergy (i.e., cardiovascular changes, respiratory or gastrointestinal tract symptoms or the required use of epinephrine).
This year’s policy contains a simplified dosing algorithm for administering the influenza vaccine to children depending on the child’s vaccine history and age at the time of the first administered dose:
Infants younger than 6 months are too young to be immunized.
Children 9 years of age and older need only 1 dose of influenza vaccine.
Children 6 months through 8 years of age need only 1 dose of the 2011-2012 influenza vaccine if they received at least 1 dose last season.
Children 6 months through 8 years of age should receive 2 doses if they did not receive any vaccine last season. The second dose should be administered at least 4 weeks after the first.
An intradermal vaccine has been recommended for people 18 through 64 years of age.
Editor’s Note: Information for parents and caregivers on the new flu recommendations will be posted on www.healthychildren.org/flu on Thursday, September 1. Reporters who would like a direct link to this flu guidance to include in their story should contact the AAP Department of Communications.