What Parents Should Know About the 2021 Flu Vaccine
As you probably know by now, COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory illness that can cause severe illness and even death in children (and adults)…just like influenza (flu).
And now that school is back in session and children are returning to some semblance of normalcy, it is critically important that parents and caregivers do everything they can to keep kids healthy. The flu vaccine is one excellent place to start.
Flu season is here, and we want to encourage you and your family to get vaccinated. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children six months of age and older receive a flu vaccine every year, and this year is no different. Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding should also receive the flu vaccine. The CDC reports that the vaccine is safe during any trimester of pregnancy.
Why should my child receive the 2021 flu vaccine?
Children under the age of five are at an increased risk of developing serious flu-related complications, such as pneumonia and dehydration. And with COVID still spreading, parents (and caregivers) should have their children vaccinated.
Which flu vaccine should my child receive?
There are two flu vaccines available; the injected flu vaccine (given as a flu shot) and the live inactivated flu vaccine (given as a nasal spray). Because it is so important that as many children receive the vaccine as possible, both the AAP and the CDC do not give a vaccine preference for children.
Who needs two doses of the vaccine?
Children ages six months to 8 years may need a second flu vaccine dose this year if this is their first time receiving the vaccine or if they’ve only received one dose in prior years. They should receive the second dose four weeks after the first. Therefore, time is of the essence.
My child has had COVID-19. Is the flu vaccine still recommended?
If your child has tested positive for COVID-19, they should still receive the flu vaccine. Influenza and COVID-19 are different viruses, both of which are highly contagious.
My child is sick with COVID-19. Should they receive the flu vaccine?
If your child is sick with COVID and has acute, moderate, or severe symptoms, they should wait until they have recovered before receiving the flu vaccine. Any child with mild COVID symptoms or who is asymptomatic can have the flu vaccine without waiting.
What if my child has had an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine?
If your child has had an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine, the AAP recommends that parents talk with their child’s allergist to determine if it should be given this year.
Where should my child receive the 2021 flu vaccine?
The AAP recommends that children receive their flu vaccine at their pediatrician’s office. If the vaccine is administered elsewhere, provide documentation of the vaccine to the pediatrician to be added to their medical record.
At Rainbow Pediatrics, we are offering two flu vaccine clinics this year. Both will occur at our Raeford clinic. The dates for the clinics are Saturday, October 9, and October 16. You can schedule your child for the flu vaccine through our online scheduler here or call any of our offices.
If you cannot make it to our flu clinics, we have limited appointments during weekdays at each location. Your child can also receive their flu vaccine during their scheduled well visit appointments.
Your child’s health is our top priority. If you have questions or concerns about the 2021 flu vaccine, call our office and connect with our nurse advice line. From your Rainbow team, we wish you and your family a healthy and active flu/winter season.