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Ready for flu season?

Q. What can parents expect from this year’s flu season? Are there two flu shots again or just one? How do I know if my child needs one dose or two doses of flu vaccine?

After last year’s flu pandemic, many of us want to be prepared for this year’s flu season. The good news is that influenza vaccinations are already available at many locations. On top of that, the H1N1 strain has been incorporated into the regular seasonal flu vaccine. Therefore, people will not need two separate immunizations this year.

The Centers for Disease Control has not made any predictions regarding the timing of the 2010-2011 flu season. Typically, flu season peaks in January or February.

On whether your child will need one or two doses of flu vaccine this year, I will refer to the policy statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

-- Children who are 9 years of age or older need only one dose

-- Children between the ages of 6 months and 9 years will need two doses if:

  • They have never received an influenza vaccine in the past
  • They did not receive any doses of H1N1 vaccine last season
  • They received seasonal flu vaccine last year for the first time and only received one dose

-- Children who are younger than 6 months of age are too young to receive flu vaccine.

For further clarification, please see your child’s healthcare provider. You may read more about the 2010-2011 flu vaccine recommendations at www.healthychildren.org.

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