Does Your Baby Need the Flu Vaccine?
They may be necessary, but injections can be hard on your baby—and you.
In a word, yes. A study recently published in Pediatrics looked at 290 cases of childhood flu and found that the vaccination reduced the number of cases by about half in children 6 to 59 months old. What's more, the study showed that the vaccine is effective even if it doesn't perfectly match the strain of flu circulating during a particular season. Keep in mind that your baby must be at least 6 months old to receive the vaccine and that, if she's previously unvaccinated, she needs a follow-up shot at least one month later to be fully protected.
"Talk to your pediatrician as soon as possible so you can coordinate the flu shot with your child's other health-care needs, including routine immunizations," suggests Carrie M. Shuler, MPH, the study's lead author. And, she says, if your child is younger than 6 months, you can help reduce her risk of getting the flu by making sure her caregivers and all family members are vaccinated.