There are a lot of people asking if their kids are generally healthy, do they really need a flu shot and the short answer is yes, they do! Not vaccinating your child could put him or her at real risk. It is estimated that more than 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized each flu season. This is because children are more likely to get the flu and complications than any other group. This is especially true in school or child care where the flu vaccine is very important to protect your child and any other children they come into contact with.

  • Children between the ages of 6 months and 18 years should be vaccinated every year.
  • Parents and all people who have close contact with children should also be vaccinated, including all working child school teachers and those in public service. This is especially important for people who take care of babies under 6 months of age.
  • Children ages 6 months to 9 years who get a flu shot for the first time will need 2 doses, 1 month apart. The first doses introduce the virus into the child’s system, while the second dose gives him the immunity he needs.

The children most at risk who need to be vaccinated are any children with the following chronic health conditions:

  • Asthma or any other type of lung disease or allergy
  • Any condition that affects their breathing
  • Those with a weakened immune system
  • Those with kidney problem or disease
  • Those with high blood pressure or heart disease
  • Any diabetic condition

The influenza virus mutates every year and there is a different strain, so new vaccines are developed each year to target the new strain you are likely to encounter, which is why it is so important to get a new flu vaccine at the start of each flu season. This is from the end of April to the end of May, but this can vary, so even if you’re late getting your family flu shot, it’s still important to get that protection.

Unborn and pregnant women are also at high risk of serious complications so it is advised to get vaccinated early and women who are likely to become pregnant during flu season are also advised to be covered by getting influenza vaccine.

Once your child has been vaccinated, it will take two weeks before he or she is fully protected from the flu, so check with your child’s doctor if you suspect there are any complications such as your child not feeling well or if he has an egg allergy or any other condition that you think may be affecting him.

If your child has not been vaccinated:

  • Your children between the ages of 2 and 5 are likely to need urgent medical attention from a doctor or emergency room.
  • Children are by far the biggest spreaders of influenza. This is because they often forget to practice good hand hygiene and are usually exposed to a lot of other people. Children are more likely to catch the influenza virus than adults and share it more easily.


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