Five Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child Against The Flu
Children are at high risk for the influenza virus. Vaccination is their best protection and the time is now to schedule your child’s flu shot. Influenza vaccine shipments are already making their way to medical facilities across the country, as doctors’ offices, pharmacies and workplace wellness centers prepare to host flu clinics this fall. As your child’s parent, the second best defense against your child getting the flu is getting your own vaccine as well.
Here are five reasons why you should vaccinate your child against the flu virus:
- The flu can be a matter of life or death. The flu virus is very common and can cause serious health implications, sometimes death, even in healthy children. Over 100 children died in the United States from the flu during the 2016-2017 flu season. If you make the decision not to vaccinate your child, you are putting not only your own child’s life at risk but the lives of others also. Vaccinating yourself as a parent is just as crucial as vaccinating your child, to protect your entire family against the virus.
- Getting the vaccine does not cause illness. While the vaccine can cause mild side effects in 10%-35% of children, which include headache, muscle ache, nausea and chills, they typically subside quickly. The possibility of these side effects are a far cry from those associated with the flu virus, which can cause severe illness and sometimes death in children. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot. This is a myth. It is also a myth that the flu shot causes autism. There is a vast body of research to support this statement. Sadly, a large percentage of parents do not vaccinate their young children based on these myths.
- The flu vaccine can be given in conjunction with other vaccines. You do not need to set up a separate doctor’s appointment if you are taking your child for a regular check-up, including a scheduled vaccination. Your child can receive the flu vaccine at the same time as other vaccinations without issue. The flu vaccine must be administered at a different site on the body and for children under a year old, two doses are required at 4-months apart.
- Not vaccinating your child can exclude them from daycare and school. Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, regardless of their reasoning, are putting their children at risk of being denied access to playgroups, daycare, and in some cases, enrollment in school, therefore interrupting their path to learning. Mothers report that when they choose not to vaccinate their children, they are shunned by other mothers and their children are not allowed to play with others. All of this interrupts your child’s development.
- If your child does contract the flu and are vaccinated, they will get a much milder form of the virus. The flu vaccine is up to 75% effective at preventing the flu, but in rare cases, despite vaccination, you can still catch the virus. If you are vaccinated, you will get a much less severe form of the disease, likely similar to a bad cold. You will avoid the life-threatening symptoms that are far more likely should you choose not to get vaccinated.
The 2017-2018 influenza vaccine is administered by injection only. There is no nasal variation available this flu season. This intramuscular injection is approved for children over 6 months of age and should be given to children as soon as it becomes available.
For more information on the flu vaccine, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm