Flu Is Dangerous For Children
Flu illness is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Each year, millions of children get sick with seasonal flu thousands of children are hospitalized, and some children die from flu. Children commonly need medical care because of flu, especially children younger than 5 years old.
- Complications from flu among children in this age group can include:
- Pneumonia: an illness where the lungs get infected and inflamed
- Dehydration: when a childs body loses too much water and salts, often because fluid losses are greater than from fluid intake)
- Worsening of long-term medical problems like heart disease or asthma
- Brain dysfunction such as encephalopathy
- Sinus problems and ear infections
- In rare cases, flu complications can lead to death.
What About Pfizer’s Child Vaccine Can My Kid Be Vaccinated Now
Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine for children 6 months through 4 years comes in two doses that are one-tenth the volume of the vaccine for people age 12 and up, a slightly smaller dose than Moderna’s prospective vaccine for the age group. A third 3-microgram dose is being researched right now and is expected to complete the series.
The currently authorized and available COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5 to 11 is one-third the dose given to everyone 12 and up, and it’s delivered in two doses. Pfizer’s vaccine for kids can also be stored for up to 10 weeks in a fridge, making it easier to administer, and the cap on the vial is orange instead of purple and gray to avoid mix-ups.
And if it helps put your kids at ease, you can let them know the needle used to administer the child’s dose of vaccine is also smaller.
For more information about Pfizer’s vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, check out this FDA fact sheet.
Moderna’s Covid Vaccine For Kids Under : Is It Effective
Moderna is submitting data on a vaccine for kids 6 months through 5 years . It’s two doses — one-fourth the size of Moderna’s vaccine for adults — given 28 days apart.
The vaccine had a favorable safety profile in the study, Moderna said, and while the vaccine efficacy is relatively lower compared with the efficacy rates seen earlier in the pandemic , this is “consistent with adult observational data” during the omicron wave, the company said.
If the FDA also authorizes Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids 6 to 12, it’ll be the company’s adult booster size — 50 micrograms, or one half the size given to adults as their first two shots. Moderna’s vaccine is regulated for kids as young as 6 in Canada, Australia and the European Union.
Moderna is asking the FDA to extend the use of its adult vaccine for kids age 12 to 17. But right now the only vaccine available for kids under 18 in the US is Pfizer’s.
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Headache And Other Aches And Pains
After your shot, you might have headaches or some achiness and pain in the muscles throughout your body. This also usually happens on the first day and goes away within two days. Taking pain relievers can help ease your discomfort.
Its controversial whether its safe to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to treat these vaccine side effects.
Some research suggests that these medications might change or decrease how your body responds to the vaccine. One study involving children found that taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen didnt reduce the bodys response to the flu vaccine.
Other research is mixed. Its still unclear whether these medications should be avoided.
How Can Parents Keep Children Safe Before They Get The Covid
Since it may still be a while before your littlest ones can get vaccinated, its important to continue following the same safety measures youve used throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, says Kyle Monk, M.D., a pediatrician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California and member of the What to Expect Medical Review Board.
This includes wearing masks, practicing social distancing and washing hands frequently. “You still need to hold off on unmasked playdates or sleepovers until children are vaccinated,” adds Dr. Monk.
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The Types Of Flu Vaccine Available
There are several types of flu vaccine. You will be offered one that is most effective for you, depending upon your age, from the following:
- children aged 2 to 17 are offered a live vaccine as a nasal spray. The live viruses have been weakened so it cannot give you flu
- adults aged 18 to 64 are offered an injectable vaccine. It is an inactivated vaccine that does not contain any live viruses and cannot give you flu. There are different types available depending on how they were manufactured
- adults aged 65 and over are offered an injected vaccine. It is an inactivated vaccine that does not contain any live viruses and cannot give you flu. Usually, you will be offered one that contains an adjuvant that helps the immune system create a stronger response to the vaccine. It is offered to people in this age group because as people age their immune system responds less well to vaccines
If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years old and is in a high-risk group for flu, they will be offered an injected flu vaccine as the nasal spray is not licensed for children under the age of 2. Some children over the age of 2 who are in a high-risk group will also need to have an injected vaccine if the nasal spray vaccine is not suitable for them.
Why Weren’t Children Included In The First Covid
Childrens immune systems are very different from those of adults, and their immune responses can vary according to their age, explains Dr. OLeary.
While a teenager may respond to a vaccine similarly as an adult, an elementary school-age child, a toddler or an infant could have a very different reaction. Thats why its so important to always hold clinical trials in kids separately.
The trials in children go through two stages. The first stage looks at different dose levels specifically doses that are one-quarter, one-half or equal to the doses given to adults, explains Rajeev Fernando, M.D., an infectious disease expert in Southampton, New York, and member of the What to Expect Medical Review Board. As a next step, those doses are then tested against placebo injections.
About 24 percent of the U.S. population around 74 million people is under 18, and experts say getting kids vaccinated is key to controlling the pandemic.
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Can I Get The Flu Vaccine If I Have An Egg Allergy
The influenza vaccine is typically grown in eggs. But the traces of egg protein that remain after the vaccine is made are so tiny that the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy says both adults and children with egg allergy can be safely vaccinated against the flu. The risk of anaphylaxis after vaccination is very low, estimated at 1.35 cases per 1 million doses.
It is rare for people with egg allergy to experience other side effects, such as hives, wheezing, vomiting or abdominal pain, after getting the flu shot. If you are concerned, ask your doctor if you, or your child, can be observed by staff for 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine .
Is Flu Illness Serious
Millions of children get sick with flu each year and thousands are hospitalized. CDC estimates that since 2010, between 7,000 and 28,000 children younger than 5 years old have been hospitalized for flu each year in the United States. Children with chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, and disorders of the brain or nervous system, and children younger than 5 years old are more likely to end up in the hospital from flu.
Some people at high risk can develop complications that can result in hospitalization and even death.
Flu seasons vary in how serious they are from one season to another. Since 2010, CDC estimates that between 130 and 1,200 children have died from flu each year.
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Why Does My Child Need A Flu Vaccine Every Year
Flu viruses are constantly changing, so new vaccines are made each year to protect against the flu viruses that are likely to cause the most illness. Also, protection provided by flu vaccination wears off over time. Your childs flu vaccine will protect against flu all season, but they will need a vaccine again next flu season for best protection against flu.
Possible Side Effects Of The Flu Vaccine
The influenza vaccine can cause side effects. In children under 5 years, these reactions may be more obvious.
Common side effects of influenza vaccine include:
- drowsiness or tiredness
- localised pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
- occasionally, an injection-site lump that may last many weeks but needs no treatment
- low-grade temperature .
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When Can We Expect Children Under 12 To Be Eligible For The Covid
Studies are ongoing for a few vaccines on populations of children from 6 months of age to 11 years.
Some studies are almost complete and it is expected that Health Canada will receive applications for approval in late 2021 or early 2022. In fact, Pfizer Canada recently announced that it plans to provide Health Canada with data demonstrating its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in children aged five to 11 at one-third the dose given to teenagers and adults.
Can I Get The Influenza Vaccine And Covid
You can get the Pfizer or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine but not on the same day. You should wait at least 7 days between receiving a dose of COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine.
You arent required to have the vaccines in any particular order. The order will likely depend on vaccine availability, so you may receive whichever vaccine you have access to first.
If youre having the Pfizer vaccine, this means you may be able to get a flu vaccination in between the 2 doses, if appropriate.
In special cases, your healthcare provider may consider shortening the time period between the different vaccines or they may suggest you receive the vaccines on the same day. This will only be considered if:
- theres a high risk that youll be exposed to one of the diseases
- its highly likely that the opportunity of receiving either vaccine will be missed
If this is suggested, youll be counselled about any possible adverse events from each vaccine. Youll be advised to report any adverse events.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more advice on how to schedule vaccinations.
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What Happens If I Dont Vaccinate My Children
Vaccinating young children protects the wider community by reducing the number of people with the virus. It also helps protect the people who are more vulnerable like very young children, older people and people with certain medical conditions.
If your child is not immunised, then they are at a higher risk of serious infectious diseases and possible consequences, such as disability or even death.
Who Can Get The Flu Vaccine
An annual flu vaccination is provided through the National Immunisation Program for most people in the community who are at an increased risk of serious complications.
In Victoria, an annual vaccination against influenza is free for:
- children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
- people who have medical conditions that put them at risk of serious complications of influenza
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 6 months and over
- pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
- people 65 years and over.
Contact your doctor or immunisation provider for further information about eligibility. People not covered by these categories can also have an annual flu immunisation, but it is not available for free.
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People Who Need More Than One Flu Vaccine A Year
There are some people who are recommended to have a second dose of the influenza vaccine within the space of one year.
- Children less than 9 years receiving their influenza vaccine for the first time require 2 doses 4 weeks apart for an adequate immune response.
- People who have had a haematopoietic stem cell transplant or solid organ transplant and are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time after transplant.
- Pregnant women, who may be vaccinated with the next seasons influenza vaccine if it becomes available in the latter part of their pregnancy, even if they were vaccinated with the previous seasons vaccine prior to or earlier in pregnancy.
- Overseas travellers, who may benefit from a second dose of this seasons influenza vaccine if going to the northern hemisphere winter and receiving the northern hemisphere formulation there is not feasible.
Please check with your GP to find out whether you fall into one of these categories.
The Flu Shot And Covid
An important update regarding timing between receiving the flu and COVID-19 vaccines for all Victorians including those most vulnerable in our community.
The original recommended timing between receipt of the 2 vaccines was a preferred minimum interval of 2 weeks .
Based on the latest medical advice the preferred minimum interval between vaccinations for COVID-19 and the flu is now 7 days.
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Where Can You Get The Flu Vaccination For Your Child
Your child can get their flu vaccination at your family doctor/general practice and some pharmacies. Pharmacists can only give the flu vaccine to children over 13 years old. Always call your family doctor/general practice or pharmacy ahead of time to find out if they offer this service, the cost and whether they have the vaccine in stock.
Where Your Child Gets The Vaccine
GPs will offer the vaccine to pre-school children. Ask the doctor’s surgery about vaccination for your child.
Primary school children and those up to Year 12 in secondary school will be offered the vaccine in school.
To allow your child to be vaccinated, you need to sign and return a consent form to the school.
If your child is absent or they need a second dose of the vaccine, the school will ask you to contact your child’s GP.
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Advice If You Are Sick With Flu And Care For Children Younger Than 5 Years Old
Flu may cause fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Young children also may have vomiting or diarrhea with flu symptoms. Its important to note that some people with flu may not have a fever. If you live with or care for a young child and you get flu symptoms, follow the precautions below to help prevent the spread of illness to the child or children in your care.
People Who Shouldnt Have The Vaccination
Almost everybody can have the vaccine, but you should not be vaccinated if you have ever had a serious allergy to the vaccine, or any of its ingredients. If you are allergic to eggs or have a condition that weakens your immune system, you may not be able to have certain types of flu vaccine check with your GP. If you have a fever, the vaccination may be delayed until you are better.
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Booking Your 2nd Dose
People aged 16 or over are eligible for a 2nd dose.
People aged 18 or over should have their 2nd dose from 8 weeks after their 1st dose.
Most people aged 16 or 17 should have their 2nd dose from 12 weeks after their 1st dose.
- If you book online, you’ll be asked to book appointments for both doses. You can manage your COVID-19 vaccination appointments to view your appointments and rebook if you need to.
- If you had your 1st dose at a walk-in vaccination site, you can book your 2nd COVID-19 vaccination appointment online. You’ll need to wait 24 hours after your 1st dose before you can book.
- If you have your 1st dose through your GP surgery, you’ll be contacted when it’s time to book your 2nd dose.
Why Does My Child Need A Flu Shot
Influenza can be much worse than a bad cold. Some babies and children who have influenza get so sick they cant go to childcare or preschool for two weeks or more. Every year in Australia, hundreds of children get so unwell from influenza they need to be treated in hospital. Most of them are babies and children under five years.
An influenza vaccine is the best way to protect your child from serious influenza. Influenza vaccines give better protection in some years than others. This is because the types of influenza viruses making people sick from year to year can change, and the vaccines may have to be updated.
Before the influenza season, experts gather information from around the world to work out which influenza viruses are most likely to circulate. They often get it right, but sometimes it can be hard to predict. Experts use the best information available at the time.
Influenza vaccines give your child good protection, even if they arent always perfect. By getting an influenza vaccine, your child will be less likely to get influenza, and less likely to get the serious conditions that influenza can cause, like severe lung infections or swelling in the brain .
Its safe for children with egg allergies to get influenza vaccines.3 This is because the amount of egg in influenza vaccines is tiny . Many years ago, influenza vaccines used to contain more egg protein, but the way the vaccines are manufactured is much better now.
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