Haven't gotten your family their flu vaccines yet? You might want to get on that ASAP. And while the American Academy of Pediatrics still recommends that kids get immunized for the 2019-2020 season, there's an important change to their guidelines. In previous years, doctors advised parents to get their children the injection rather than opting for the nasal spray, when possible. However, this year, experts say they support both methods of vaccination equally.
"All children 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine, in whatever form their pediatrician recommends," said Dr. Bonnie Maldonado, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. "Every year, we are never sure if the vaccine strains are going to be perfectly matched up with incoming flu strains, but based on the information that we have now, we believe the nasal spray is an acceptable option."
In 2017, the manufacturer of the nasal spray known as FluMist in the US changed the formula to include the A/H1N1 strain, and research from Great Britain suggested that the spray is just as effective as getting an injection, according to the AAP.
The recommendation change was officially approved in March, and given the pervasiveness of the flu, it's important that parents take note. "The flu virus is unpredictable and can cause serious complications even in healthy children," said Dr. Flor M. Munoz, a member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. "Children who have been immunized are less likely be hospitalized due to flu."
Parents with immunocompromised children should speak with their doctor before getting their kiddo the injected vaccine or the nasal spray.