Australia’s national guidelines recommend vaccination for anyone from 6 months of age who wants to reduce their risk of catching the infection.
Influenza is a serious disease in young children. Furthermore, children often transmit the infection to other family members.
In the US, the government immunisation advisory committee recently recommended that all children from 6 months to 18 years are vaccinated against influenza every year.
Some children are especially at-risk of complications and should be routinely vaccinated. They include children with:
· Congenital heart disease
· Lung disease e.g. severe asthma, cystic fibrosis
· Other chronic illness such as diabetes, kidney failure
· Impaired immunity
The vaccine is subsidised for high-risk groups through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. For others, a private prescription from your doctor is required.
Safety and dosage
The vaccine is safe and well tolerated in healthy children. Side effects are usually mild and include fever and redness or pain at the injection site. The injection cannot cause the flu.
Children up to 9 years need 2 doses at least 4 weeks apart, the first time they are vaccinated. In subsequent years they only need a single dose. Special low dose vaccines are available for younger children.
Speak to your GP about whether your child should be vaccinated.
For further information
Ring the National Immunisation Infoline: 1800 671 811
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.