Good news for kids: Next flu season, you can avoid a painful needle jab and get the nasal vaccine spray instead, according to a leading US paediatricians' group.
In recent flu seasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended the shot over the nasal spray – except if a child refused a shot – due to questions about the nasal spray's effectiveness. However, changes to the nasal spray appear to have improved its effectiveness, and the academy is now endorsing the either/or vaccine scenario.
The new recommendation matches advice from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Flu virus unpredictable
"All children six months and older should receive the flu vaccine, in whatever form their paediatrician recommends," said Dr Bonnie Maldonado, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases.
"Every year, we are never sure if the vaccine strains are going to be perfectly matched up with incoming flu strains, but based on the information that we have now, we believe the nasal spray is an acceptable option," she explained in an academy news release.
Both types of flu vaccination were approved by the AAP board of directors after a review of the latest data. The decision was announced now because doctors are placing vaccine orders for the 2019-2020 flu season.
"The flu virus is unpredictable and can cause serious complications even in healthy children," said Dr Flor Munoz, a member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. "Children who have been immunised are less likely to be hospitalized due to flu."
The rate of flu vaccination among US children rose from 38% in November 2017 to 45% in November 2018, according to the AAP.
The academy also said parents should talk with their paediatrician if they have any questions about their child's immunisations.
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