Kiddos with the highest risk of complications from the influenza virus are those aged 0-5, and the CDC is recommending all children age 6 months and older get the flu shot this year and every year.
Children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years who are getting their FIRST flu shot will most likely need to have two doses a month apart.
The first dose is needed to “prime” the immune system and the second dose provides protection from the flu. (Children who do not get the second dose have much less or no protection from the flu.)
The first dose needs to be given as soon as the vaccine becomes available so that the second dose can be given in time to have protection at the peak of the season.
After that, the child will only need one dose per year for coverage.
Children under six months are unable to receive the vaccine, but there are still ways to offer them protection. First and foremost, urge everyone around your children under 6 months to get the vaccine to keep the flu from getting close. (Herd immunity, folks!) Also, follow those common-sense hand washing and germ-reducing rules you learned in elementary school!
And please, please, please…stay home when you’re sick. I can’t say that enough.