CDC: Flu Shot Recommended for Older Children

February 28, 2008

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's immunization advisory committee voted this week to expand influenza vaccination recommendations to include all children aged 6 months to 18 years.

THURSDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's immunization advisory committee voted this week to expand influenza vaccination recommendations to include all children aged 6 months to 18 years.

Current CDC guidelines call for all children aged 6 months to 59 months to be vaccinated for influenza. The expanded recommendations are based on evidence showing that healthy children are at increased risk of requiring influenza-related medical care, and that reducing influenza transmission among children could potentially lower the public health burden of influenza by decreasing spread of influenza within the community.

The CDC recommends that health care providers begin to offer influenza vaccination to children aged 6 months to 18 years in the 2008-2009 influenza season, if feasible, with the expanded recommendations fully implemented by the 2009-2010 influenza season at the latest. Children under age 9 receiving the influenza vaccine for the first time should get two doses, as research shows that a single dose of influenza vaccine is not effective in preventing disease in young children who have not been previously vaccinated.

"This new recommendation should reduce the risk of influenza infections among children of all ages, and their consequent need for medical visits and missed time from school," comments Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

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