Children age six years and older should receive annual trivalent seasonal influenza immunization, according to new recommendations from the AAP.
Children and adolescents age six years and older should receive annual trivalent seasonal influenza immunization, according to updated recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that focus on the prevention and control of influenza.
It is critical that pediatricians assume “a leadership role in the prevention of influenza through vaccine use and public education,” and that they are able to “promptly identify influenza infections to enable rapid treatment of influenza, when indicated, to reduce childhood morbidity and mortality,” according to the guidelines, which are published in Pediatrics.
This year’s trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine contains A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like antigen (derived from the 2009 pandemic influenza A [H1N1] virus); A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like antigen; and B/Brisbane/60/2008-like antigen, making it all the more critical that “special efforts” are made to immunize all family members, household contacts, and out-of-home care providers of children who are younger than 5 years; children with high-risk conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or neurological disorders; healthcare personnel; and pregnant women. These groups “are most vulnerable to influenza-related complications,” according to the AAP’s Committee on Infectious Diseases.
Although two influenza vaccines were recommended last year, only a single trivalent vaccine is being manufactured for the current 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccine schedule. The 2009 pandemic H1N1 train has replaced last year’s strain in the 2010-2011 trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine, which also includes two other strains of flu virus.
The AAP policy includes a concise flow chart to simplify decision-making about the number of influenza vaccine doses a child needs, which depends on the child’s age at the time of the first dose and vaccine history:
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