2020-2021 Flu Season Vaccine Updates
This year, all children ages 6 months and older in MA who attend childcare or school (remote or in person) are required to receive a flu vaccine (https://www.mass.gov/news/flu-...). Flu vaccines will be available in our office during scheduled appointments as well as flu clinics, which can be scheduled on our website. Flu vaccines are also available at some retail pharmacies.
If you child is receiving the flu vaccine for the first time and has not had a flu vaccine in any previous years and under 9 years of age, they will need 2 vaccines separated by at least 1 month.
This year both the flu "shot" and flu "mist" are available. They are thought to be equally as effective and both cover the same 4 strains of influenza virus. Since the Flumist is a live attenuated (inactivated - cannot cause disease) vaccine, it is not appropriate for some children. People who SHOULD NOT receive Flumist and should receive the "shot" instead are:
- Children younger than 2 years.
- Children 2 through 4 years of age with a diagnosis of asthma or history of recurrent wheezing or a medically attended wheezing episode in the previous 12 months because of the potential for increased wheezing after immunization.
- Children with new cochlear implants or active cerebrospinal fluid leaks.
- Children who have a known or suspected primary or acquired immunodeficiency or who are receiving immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory therapies.
- Children with anatomic or functional asplenia, including from sickle cell disease.
- Close contacts and caregivers of those who are severely immunocompromised and require a protected environment.
- Children and adolescents receiving aspirin or salicylate-containing medications.
- Children who have received other live-virus vaccines within the previous 4 weeks (except for rotavirus vaccine); however, LAIV can be administered on the same day with other live-virus vaccines if necessary.
- Children taking an influenza antiviral medication and until 48 hours (oseltamivir, zanamivir) and up to 2 weeks (peramivir and baloxavir) after stopping the influenza antiviral therapy.
- Pregnant women.
If your child has another chronic medical issue including asthma, metabolic disease, diabetes mellitus, blood disorders, or other chronic disorders of the lung, heart, or kidney, please speak with your primary team to discuss whether or not Flumist is appropriate.