THURSDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Most children need to get a seasonal flu vaccination this year, even if they got one last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.
The 2011-12 flu vaccine protects against the same three flu strains as last year's vaccine, but a person's immunity decreases by as much as 50 percent 6 to 12 months after vaccination.
That's why it's important for children to get another flu shot this year, according to the AAP.
The group said this is only the fourth time in the past 25 years that the trivalent seasonal flu vaccine has stayed the same for two years.
Everyone 6 months or older should receive the seasonal flu vaccine, the AAP advises. Immunization is especially important for all family members, household contacts, and out-of-home care providers of children under age 5 years and children with high risk conditions such as asthma, diabetes or nervous system disorders.
The recommendations, published online Sept. 1 and in the October print issue of the journal Pediatrics, also advise vaccination for all women who are pregnant, considering pregnancy, or breast-feeding during the flu season.
The flu vaccine is safe for most children with a history of mild egg allergy -- that is, the egg allergy only causes hives -- but parents should consult an allergist before flu vaccine is given to children with a history of severe egg allergy, the AAP said in a journal news release. (A severe egg allergy can include trouble breathing and heart or GI problems, and epinephrine may be required to treat it).
The recommendations also include the following:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about children and the flu and flu vaccination.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, Sept. 1, 2011
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