There are a lot of people asking if their children are generally healthy, do they really need a flu shot and the short answer is yes, they do! Not having your child vaccinated could potentially place them in real danger. It is estimated that over 20,000 children under the age of five years are hospitalized each flu season. This is because children are at a greater risk of catching the flu and having complications than any other group. This is especially so in school or childcare where a flu shot is very important to protect your child and any other children they come into contact with.
- Children between 6 months and 18 years should be vaccinated each year.
- Parents and all the people who have close contact with children should also be vaccinated, including all child workers school teachers and those in the public service. This is especially important for people who care for children under 6 months old.
- Children between 6 months and 9 years old who are having a flu shot for the first time will need to have two doses, one month apart. The first of the doses introduces the virus into the child’s system and the second dose gives them the immunity they need.
Kids that are at the greatest risk and need to be vaccinated include any children with the following chronic health conditions:
- Asthma or any other type of lung or allergic conditions
- Any condition that affects their breathing
- Those with a weakened immune system
- Those with a kidney problem or disease
- Those suffering from high blood pressure or Heart Disease
- Any diabetic condition
Every year the flu virus mutates and there is a different strain, so each year new enhanced vaccines that are developed to target the new strain that you are likely to encounter which is why it is important to have a new flu shot at the start of every flu season. This is at the end of April to the end of May, but this can vary so even if you are late getting the family flu shots it is still important to have that protection.
Unborn and pregnant women are also considered to have a high risk of developing severe complications so are advised to have an early vaccination and those women who are likely to become pregnant during the flu season are also advised to become covered by having a flu shot.
Once your child is vaccinated, it will take 2 weeks before they are fully protected from influenza so consult your child’s doctor if you suspect there are any complications such as your child not feeling well or if they have an egg allergy or any other condition that you think may affect them.
If you do not have your child vaccinated:
- Your children aged between 2 to 5 years old are more likely to need urgent medical attention from a doctor or emergency room.
- Children are by far the biggest spreaders of influenza. This is because often they forget to practice good hand hygiene and are usually exposed to a lot of other people. Children are more susceptible to the flu virus than adults and share it more readily.