Dear Doctor: Should My Child Get a Flu Vaccine?

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

Getting vaccinated early before flu activity begins, helps protect you once the flu activity begins in your community. Influenza activity often begins to increase in October. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body’s immune system to fully respond and for you to be protected. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by end of October.  However, December is not too late to have your child vaccinated for the 2016-2017 flu season.

Vaccination is effective in reducing outpatient medical visits for illness caused by circulating influenza virus by 50 to 75%. Historically, 80 to 85% of pediatric deaths have been in unvaccinated children 6 months or older. In the past 10 seasons, rates of hospitalizations for children younger than 5 years have exceeded rates for children older than 5 years of age.

Vaccination remains the best available preventive measure against influenza for your child.

Dr. Anuradha Rai is a Board-Certified Pediatrician for UT Health Science Center at Houston and provides patient care at UT Physicians Pediatric Center at Cinco Ranch located at 10450 Spring Green Blvd. Suite B, Katy, TX 77494. To schedule an appointment, please call 713-486-5870.