The CDC says that infants younger than 6 months cannot get the flu vaccine. In this case, the role of the caregiver is important and hence, they must remain healthy and may wish to follow the CDC recommendations on precautions and advie for caregivers of children younger than 2 years old below. An excerpt:
Children Younger Than 6 Months at Higher Risk
Children younger than 6 months are at higher risk of serious flu complications, but are too young to get a flu vaccine. Because children younger than 6 months cannot get a vaccine, but are at high risk for serious flu-related complications, safeguarding them from influenza is especially important. This fact sheet provides advice to help caregivers (for example, parents, teachers, babysitters, nannies) protect children younger than 6 months from the flu.
For information on Egg free vaccines you may wish to click here.
CDC advice for caregivers of children below 2 years of age:
1. Take time to get the flu vaccine
2. Take everyday preventive steps – washing your hands often, covering mouth, keep baby 6 feet away from sick people, keep hands (and germs) away from face
3. Talk to doctor about antiviral drugs: which are most effective in first two days of illness
The CDC advises ensuring the infants cold or flu does not progress into pneumonia. Actively seek out advice on how to prevent flu from progressing into pneumonia.
Here is a study by pediatricians that shows that most babies begin to get sick with flu after they are 6 months old. The mother’s ability to fight the flu virus is transmitted to the child while pregnant and does offer the new born to six month child a healthier start to life. However, a third of the new borns under six months did get the flu in this study. The Centers of Disease Control of USA (CDC) recommends that all infants above 6 months be vaccinated annually against the flu. You may click here to read the CDC recommendation on December 2012.
You may want to discuss with your pediatrician if your child is more than six months old. Maternal immunity transferred to the infant may postpone the need to immunize the infant. However, since two – thirds of the infants over 6 months in this 1997 study did get the flu, the discussion with the pediatrician becomes important. Also, the infant is getting a number of other immunizations and the expert discussion will allow you to avoid an unnecessary vaccine.
If the flu season is particularly harsh like in early 2013, then it might be advisable to not delay the discussion on immunizing your child over 6 months of age. The CDC does not recommend getting a child under 6 months getting the flu vaccine.
To read the scientific research article entitled “Influenza virus infections in infants” published in the Pediatric Infection Disease Journal click you may want to click here. It was published in 1997 but the results still apply.
The authors of this study are:
GLEZEN, W. PAUL MD; TABER, LARRY H. MD; FRANK, ARTHUR L. MD*; GRUBER, WILLIAM C. MD†; PIEDRA, PEDRO A. MD
Prevent the fluids from collecting in the ear and causing a ear infection.