What Parents Should Know About the 2023-2024 Flu Vaccine for Kids
Should I get the flu vaccine?
Yes, you should.
For the 2019-2020 season, the CDC estimates that the flu vaccine prevented 7 million illnesses, 3.4 million medical visits, 100,000 hospitalizations, and 7,100 deaths.
Does it work?
Yes, it does.
Does it prevent all possible strains of the flu?
No, it doesn’t. But it does prevent those most likely to be a problem in the U.S. this season.
During seasonal flu epidemics, children are the most vulnerable demographic for influenza (flu). And for children under five with preexisting medical conditions, there is an increased risk of hospitalizations and complications resulting from the flu. Plus, kids are carriers, spreading the flu to others in their family, at school, church, and the playground. The flu vaccine is the best defense against the flu viruses expected to circulate this 2023-2024 season. Not only should parents get kids vaccinated to protect them from the virus, they should do it to protect their whole family.
We provide a detailed update on the flu vaccines offered this season every year. This year is no different. So, let’s begin with an overview of the 2023-2024 flu vaccine for kids.
This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children ages six months and up receive the flu vaccine appropriate to their age and health status.
First-time flu vaccine recipients
Our first-time flu vaccine recipients ages six months through 8 years of age who received only one dose before July 1, 2023, or whose vaccination status is unknown, should receive two doses of the vaccine spaced four weeks apart. Because of the time between the first and second vaccine in the series, it is recommended that parents get their child scheduled to receive the vaccine as soon as possible.
The best time for the flu vaccine
If you’re wondering when the best time to receive the vaccine is, according to the CDC, September and October are ideal. After receiving the vaccine, it takes about two weeks for the body to develop immunity against the viruses it protects against.
Why is the flu vaccine important this year?
As you know, COVID-19 is still circulating this year. It is essential to get vaccinated to protect your children against the double whammy of getting COVID and then the flu or getting flu and then COVID-19. Having both viruses simultaneously puts people at increased risk of complications and hospitalizations. We do not know the severity of this year’s flu or how a resurgence of COVID may impact the community. Because of this, it is better to err on the side of caution and do what you can to protect children.
Changes to this year’s flu vaccine for kids?
One change this year is directed to those with an egg allergy. Regardless of severity, people with any history of egg allergy may receive any flu vaccines offered this season. At Rainbow Pediatrics, we offer both FluMist Quadrivalent (intranasal) for people ages two and up and the traditional injectable vaccine for children ages six months and older.
Does the flu vaccine make you sick?
The injectable flu vaccine is not a live virus; therefore, getting the flu from the vaccine is impossible. The aches, mild fever, or muscle soreness that some people feel after getting the vaccine are normal and do not mean you have the flu. It is also essential to know that the flu vaccine can take two weeks to protect your child. They are still at risk of contracting the flu during this time.
We are here to help keep your family safe. Please call us if you have questions about this year’s flu vaccine for kids. To schedule your child’s flu vaccine, contact the most convenient location.
We look forward to helping you and your child stay healthy this flu season.