Flu Vaccine for Children

reis_evelyn_md_pd_20090401As physicians here at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, we are working to protect all kids from the flu and helping to make getting  flu shots easier for kids. Here are some frequently asked questions to learn more about the flu vaccine this year.

Which flu vaccine should my child get this year?
In June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the current version of FluMist®, the nasal spray influenza vaccine, should not be used this season. Children and adults should receive only the injectable influenza flu vaccine, the “flu shot.”  The American Academy of Pediatrics has advised all pediatricians to follow these recommendations.

Why is nasal spray flu vaccine (FluMist®) not recommended this year?
The CDC decision was based on results of a national research study which closely monitors how well flu vaccine works to protect children and adults. In recent years, the flu shot protected children much better than the nasal spray flu vaccine did.

Where was the flu vaccine research done?
Pittsburgh is one of the five places in the United States where the flu vaccine research was done. In the Pittsburgh area, over 2,000 children joined the study from pediatric and family medicine practices and the Children’s Hospital Emergency Department. Ongoing participation by Pittsburgh families will help doctors learn how to protect all children from the flu in future years.

Who leads the Pittsburgh research?
Research doctors at Children’s Hospital and University of Pittsburgh (PittVax) have led the Pittsburgh site since 2011 and will continue for the next 5 years. Pediatric PittNet, the University of Pittsburgh CTSI pediatric practice-based research network, supports this study.

Who should get the flu shot this year?
All persons 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine every fall, unless they have an anaphylactic reaction to eggs.

My child is worried about getting a shot. How can I help?
Your child is in good company! Immunization injections or “shots” are the most common painful medical procedure and often cause distress for both children and their parents. Fortunately, research doctors at Children’s Hospital have found that you can help your child with 3 easy steps:

• Hold your child firmly on your lap and offer reassurance.
• Distract your child by singing a song, counting to ten, or blowing bubbles together.
• Ask your nurse to use cooling spray (Pain Ease®) to numb your child’s skin before the injection.

For more information: