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A new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics outlines the academy’s influenza vaccination recommendations for the 2014-2015 flu season.
The AAP recommends routine immunization with either trivalent or quadrivalent vaccine of all children and adolescents aged 6 months and older without contraindications, paying particular attention to vulnerable groups such as children with chronic health conditions and children of American Indian or Alaska Native heritage.
To further protect children, special effort should be made to vaccinate healthcare personnel; childcare providers and staff; women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy; women who are postpartum or breastfeeding; and household contacts and caregivers of high-risk children, including children aged younger than 5 years and infants aged younger than 6 months.
The recommendations stress the importance of annual vaccination, even though this season’s vaccine composition is the same as last year, because antibody titers decrease to half their original levels within 6 months to a year after immunization.
Previously unvaccinated children aged between 6 months and 8 years should get 2 doses of vaccine 4 weeks apart for the best immune response; children who received last season’s vaccine may need only 1 dose this year because the vaccine virus strains are the same, as reflected in the dosing algorithm.
The intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) should be considered for healthy children aged between 2 and 8 years who have no contraindications or precautions because of its superior efficacy in this age group. Inactivated influenza vaccine can be given instead and should be given if LAIV isn’t immediately available rather than waiting to obtain LAIV.
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