Flu Vaccine for Kids: Does Your Child Need a Flu Shot? – Jan. 29, 2021
Many parents choose not to get the flu vaccine for their kids. However, the CDC recommends that most children older than 6 months should get the flu shot every year—by the end of October if possible. At One Community Health, we understand that vaccinating your children can be a complex decision, so in today’s post we will discuss 6 important things to know about the flu vaccine for kids.
1. The flu vaccine for kids is safe.
Safety is understandably one of the most common concerns parents have about vaccinating their children. We are here to assuage your fears. The flu vaccine is extremely safe, even for very young children. Research confirms that the danger of the flu virus itself poses a much larger threat to young children than any potential side effect of a flu vaccine.
Additionally, it is safe for children who have an egg allergy. Allergic reactions to the vaccine are extremely rare. If your child has an egg allergy and you are concerned about vaccinating, be sure to talk with your child’s pediatrician.
2. The vaccine works and could save your child’s life.
You may be thinking that because the flu vaccine is not 100% effective, it’s not worth getting. A helpful metaphor is the use of seat belts in cars. Wearing a seat belt is not 100% effective at preventing injury or death, but it is the best protection you have when it comes to accidents. And even if the vaccine doesn’t prevent the flu in your child, it can lessen the severity of the illness should your child contract it.
3. The flu shot does not cause autism.
This has become a significant concern among parents in recent years, however scientific research has thoroughly shown that there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism.
4. Your child needs the flu shot even if they are healthy.
Some parents believe that only children with chronic health issues or compromised immune systems need to get the flu shot. While it’s true that children with chronic illnesses are at greater risk for complications from the flu, healthy children can also experience very serious, life-threatening complications. Unfortunately, many previously healthy children die each year from the flu virus.
It can also prevent missed days of school in healthy children. Missing school due to sick days can mean lost wages for parents and it can also set your child’s learning back significantly.
5. It protects vulnerable groups.
Getting the vaccine doesn’t just help your child. It also keeps your child from spreading the virus to those who can’t get the vaccine—such as infants, and those who are more susceptible, like the elderly. From a public health perspective, it is one of the most important things you can do.
6. Your child cannot get the flu from the vaccine.
The flu virus contained in vaccines is either weakened or killed, depending on which one you recieve. Regardless of the type of vaccine, it cannot give your child the flu. Your child may experience some side effects of the vaccine (i.e. fever, aches), but these are not symptoms of the flu.
It’s important to note that it takes approximately two weeks for the body to gain full immunity. So it is possible for your child to get the flu during this period, but this does not mean that the vaccine caused it.
Pediatrician in Sacramento
At One Community Health, we understand that your concerns are very real and you just want what’s best for your child. We don’t want to simply dismiss your fears. However, the flu can be a very serious threat to children, and the flu shot is the best defense against it. If you still have anxiety about getting the flu vaccine for kids, talk to your OCH pediatrician. Give us a call today to make an appointment. We will listen to your concerns and work together to figure out what’s right for your child.