Flu FAQ – 2018-19 season

Who should get the flu vaccine?  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children 6 months of age and older receive the yearly flu vaccine.
Will parents be able to get the flu vaccine during the flu clinics also?  Yes.  We do plan on offering flu vaccine to parents during the flu clinics as long as our vaccine supply holds out.  We will not be able to file this with the parent’s insurance so it will be an out of pocket expense to the parent.
Is there thimerosal in the flu vaccines?  No.  All flu vaccines administered by Mt. Pleasant Pediatrics are preservative-free (no thimerosal).
Are you going to have Flumist again this year?  No.  We will not have the nasal flu vaccine (Flumist) available this year.  Flumist is not being recommended by the AAP as the primary choice in light of its poor effectiveness in recent seasons against Influenza A/H1N1 and its unknown effectiveness against Influenza A/H1N1 for this upcoming season.
– Will my child need more than one dose of the flu vaccine?  Children under 9 years of age with a history of <2 doses of influenza vaccine are recommended to receive 2 doses this flu season.  This primarily pertains to infants 6 months of age and older who are receiving flu vaccine for the first time.
Can the flu shot give you the flu?  No.  The flu shot is made with flu vaccine viruses that have been inactivated and are therefore not infectious.  Potential side effects from the flu shot are redness, swelling and tenderness at the site of the injection.  Low-grade fever, headache, and muscle aches may also occur.  If these reactions occur, they usually start shortly after the shot and resolve in 1-2 days.
If my child has already had the flu this season before getting vaccinated, should I still get the vaccine for them?  Yes.  There are multiple strains of the flu that circulate during any given flu season.  It is possible to get the flu more than once during a flu season.  The vaccine will help protect against this happening.
My child got the flu last year even after getting the vaccine.  Was it worth getting them vaccinated?  Yes.  During the 2017-2018 season, it was not uncommon to get the flu even after being vaccinated.  This was related to a mismatch of the strains of flu in the vaccine with the strains of flu that actually circulated.  However, we did find that the majority of patients who had been vaccinated and still got the flu had less severe and shorter illnesses than unvaccinated patients.
What if my child’s yearly check-up is during flu season?  Flu shots are given at well visits as a routine.  If you plan on “piggy-backing” a sibling for Flu Shot at another sibling’s well-visit, PLEASE make that request prior to the appointment time.  This may not always be possible.

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