In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended an annual flu vaccine for all healthy children 6 months and older during the 2021–2022 influenza season. However, it does not recommend a specific flu vaccine; any licensed influenza vaccine (inactivated influenza vaccine or attenuated influenza vaccine) depending on the age and health of the child can be used.The influenza vaccine can be coadministered with or can be given any time before or after the curr...
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In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended an annual flu vaccine for all healthy children 6 months and older during the 2021–2022 influenza season. However, it does not recommend a specific flu vaccine; any licensed influenza vaccine (inactivated influenza vaccine or attenuated influenza vaccine) depending on the age and health of the child can be used.
The influenza vaccine can be coadministered with or can be given any time before or after the currently available COVID-19 vaccines. Children with mild COVID-19 may be vaccinated; but, children with acute, moderate or severe COVID-19 should wait to take their flu shot, till they have recovered from COVID-19.
The CDC recommends separation of injection sites by 1 inch or more, if possible. COVID-19 vaccines and vaccines that may be more likely to cause a local reaction such as the adjuvanted inactivated flu vaccine should be administered in different limbs, if possible.
Children at high-risk, including their household contacts should be vaccinated with flu vaccine, unless contraindicated. Some of the high-risk conditions include under-five age groups, children with asthma, cystic fibrosis, heart disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, other hemoglobinopathies, immunosuppression, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, developmental delay, obesity among others.
Children with an egg allergy can take the influenza vaccine (IIV or LAIV); no extra precautions are needed beyond those recommended for all vaccines. Children who have had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of any influenza vaccine should be first evaluated by an allergist to find out if they can take the vaccine again.
Pregnant women should receive inactivated influenza vaccine at any time during pregnancy, to protect themselves and their infants. Women who did not take the vaccine during their pregnancy can be administered the vaccine in the postpartum before they are discharged from the hospital. Breastfeeding women can safely take the vaccine. The AAP further says that it “supports mandatory vaccination of health care personnel (HCP) as a crucial element in preventing influenza and reducing health care–associated influenza infections because HCP often care for individuals at high risk for influenza-related complications”.
A flu vaccine becomes all the more important since schools have reopened during the ongoing pandemic, where it serves as an additional barrier to COVID-19, along with other precautions such as frequent handwashing, wearing face masks in school and also during indoor activities and maintaining physical distance from others.
Committee on Infectious Diseases. Recommendations for prevention and control of influenza in children, 2021-2022. Pediatrics. 2021 Sep 7:e2021053745.
American Academy of Pediatrics News release, Sept. 7, 2021.
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