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Roll Up Those Sleeves and Take a Flu Shot Soon!

October 07, 2016

Posted in Gripe

Michele Honeycutt, RN, BSN, CIC
Director of Infection Prevention, Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Parents across the nation are lamenting the news that the intranasal flu vaccine was deemed ineffective by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics this year.

Unfortunately, research has shown that FluMist didn't offer protection against the predominant strain of influenza that circulated over the last three flu seasons. The good news is that the traditional injectable vaccine is incredibly effective. It's absolutely the best way to protect your children and family against the flu. 

We were fortunate that 2016 was a fairly mild flu season. Arkansas Children's confirmed 147 cases of types A and B last year, compared with 752 cases the previous flu season. This year, there is plenty of vaccine to go around, too. For the 2016-2017 flu season, manufacturers estimate they'll produce 70 million doses of the influenza vaccine. Arkansas Children's is already receiving its stock and will begin vaccinating patients and families soon.

It's not too early to take the shot, by the way! The earlier you receive a flu vaccine, the better. It takes two weeks to build immunity. The longer you wait, the higher your chances of waking up one morning with those familiar aches and chills.

We want everyone 6 months and older to take the vaccine by the end of October. Infants and children up to 8 years of age who are taking the flu shot for the first time may need two doses of the vaccine, which are given four weeks apart. It's especially important that these children get that first dose as soon as possible so they're protected by both doses before flu season hits its peak. 

There are lots of easy ways to get a flu vaccine this year:

•    Ask your child’s pediatrician or your primary care provider.
•    Visit a commercial retailer that offers the shot.
•    Watch for schedules from the Arkansas Department of Health, which will offer flu shot clinics across the state soon. 
•    Check for shot clinic schedules at your child’s school, also offered by the Department of Health.

We know families liked the convenience of a nasal spray vaccine. Watching a child squirm away from a shot is one of the biggest challenges of parenthood! But please believe that when your child receives the injectable vaccine, you have made one of the best possible choices to protect your son or daughter's health.

You can also rest assured that our staff is protecting your child during flu season. Every team member is required to take a flu shot or show documentation from their physician if they can't.
Join us in this critical mission. Get the vaccine and feel confident that your family is protected this fall!

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