"Influenza infection is a potentially serious infection for all of us, and universal immunization is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older," said Dr. Leonard Krilov, chief of pediatric infectious disease and vice chairman of the department of pediatrics at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.
He stressed that "annual immunization is necessary because the virus strains change from year to year -- two of the three strains in this year's vaccine are different from last year."
Parents should immunize their children "as soon as the vaccine becomes available each year," Krilov said. "The side effects from the vaccine are generally mild. Most important, you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine."
Another expert agreed.
Dr. Kenneth Bromberg, chairman of pediatrics at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City, noted that the AAP's recommendations are in accordance with those from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
"One particular group to focus on is health care workers," he added. "Consumers should ask their providers if they are immunized against influenza, especially in hospitals."
There's more on protecting children from influenza at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
-- E.J. Mundell
SOURCES: Leonard Krilov, M.D., chief, pediatric infectious disease, and vice chairman, department of pediatrics, Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, N.Y.; Kenneth Bromberg, M.D., chairman, pediatrics The Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York City; Sept. 10, 2012, Pediatrics
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