Many parents ask if influenza vaccine is absolutely needed for children or is influenza one of the basic vaccines that the child should receive.
The answer is yes, influenza is a serious disease and children need to receive it once a year during cold season from October to March. Influenza virus is more pathogenic in two extreme of life, in small children and old ages .Every year many children die in different countries because of not having enough immunity against influenza viruses , they develop lung infection ( broncho pneumonia) and other complications like ear infection and sinusitis specially kids less than 3 years old.. It is part of routine vaccination program in some countries like United Kingdom and Finland.
There are many types of influenza vaccines but the one usually used in children and adolescents is an inactivated vaccine that covers for 3 strains of influenza viruses giving protection 2-3 weeks after vaccine given. It is recommended for all individual aged 6 months and above unless child is febrile or suffering from an acute infection. There is no age limit for receiving the vaccine and the one used used in older age above 60 has added adjutants which makes it stronger to more enhance the immune response.
Side effect is rare and mostly is the cold symptoms which disappear in 1-2 days. It can be given to all pregnant ladies at any time and during breast feeding too which apart from protecting the mother it will help for transmission of transplacental antibody and protects the baby. If mother is not protected, influenza viruses may cause premature delivery,still birth and even neonatal death. Influenza vaccine is absolutely needed in high risk children with special conditions like brachial asthma, chronic pulmonary or cardiac diseases and those with Immune suppressive disorder.