Skip to navigation menu Skip to content
Please click here to read our COVID-19 policies and resources before your visit or appointment. X


Doctor preparing to give child a shot

Flu Shot Reminder

By Dr. Laura Charette, PDC Pediatrics

Fall is not just time for kids to go back to school; it’s also time to get a flu vaccine.

CHKD pediatricians recommend children 6 months and older receive a flu shot to reduce their risk of severe flu and to lessen the spread of the flu throughout the community.

This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children receive either the injectable form of the vaccine or the nasal spray as soon as it becomes available, and preferably before the end of October.

This differs from last year, when the AAP recommended only the injectable vaccine for children, except in cases when a child refused the shot. After reviewing flu data following reformulation of the nasal spray vaccine to make it more effective, the AAP supports either form of the vaccine this fall.

Some children who fear needles may feel more comfortable getting the nasal spray vaccine, so pediatricians being able to offer both options is expected to boost vaccination rates.

The flu is a contagious viral infection of the upper, and sometimes lower respiratory system that infects the nose, throat, and potentially the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and in some cases, even death.

The flu virus is unpredictable and can cause serious complications, even in healthy children. Getting vaccinated can reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, missed work and school days, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths in children. Flu can lead to other problems, especially in children younger than 5 years of age, such as pneumonia, dehydration, sinus problems, and ear infections.

Children under 6 months old are at particularly high risk of complications from the flu. Since they are too young to receive the vaccine, the best way to protect them is to make sure people around them are vaccinated.

Children with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, neurodevelopment conditions, lung disease, heart disease, disorders of the blood, kidney, liver, or metabolic system, are also more prone to flu complications.

Be aware that children 6 months through 8 years of age require two doses of flu vaccine separated by at least 28 days in the first year that they receive the vaccine. Be sure to talk to your CHKD pediatrician about which flu vaccine is right for your child.

Flu outbreaks can occur as early as October, but flu activity usually peaks between December and February. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu virus infection.

It’s good practice for children to be vaccinated by the end of October. However, getting vaccinated later can still be protective, as long as flu viruses are circulating.

Like this post?

Sign up to receive our once monthly email with more kids' health tips from the region's most trusted name in pediatric health care.

About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.