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Is Your Family Planning to Have Flu Shots This Year?

?Tis the season to have the sniffles and flu. Are you and your family planning to get flu shots?

In 2005, the Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued guidelines that recommend annual flu shots for children aged 6 months to 5 years old. This year, ACIP expanded the guidelines to include older children and adolescents up to 19 years old.

Yet, people are questioning the guidelines and the need for flu shots in view of a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Researchers at the Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, NY studied the efficacy of flu shots given to children aged 6 to 59 months during the flu seasons of 2003 to 2004 and 2004 to 2005 in several counties encompassing Rochester, New York, Nashville, Tennessee, and Cincinnati, Ohio. Their researchers conclude flu shots did not demonstrate effectiveness in preventing flu and flu-related illnesses in this age group of children. This is probably because there are many different strains of the influenza virus and only a few of them are found in the geiven vaccines. It could be that on those years studied, the flu vaccine and circulating flu strains did not optimally match. However, the authors think that further study is needed during years wherein there is a flu vaccine-flu strain match.

I am a big supporter of childhood vaccines but the flu shot is one vaccine my family chooses to forgo. It looks like protection by the flu shot is a long shot…

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