Your Child and the Flu Vaccine

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Dr. Nicola Jones-Stokreef, Developmental Pediatrician, talks about the flu and the importance of getting vaccinated.

It’s that time of year again!  As we all head indoors with the approach of cooler weather, respiratory illnesses are on the rise, including influenza, also referred to as “the flu”.

Influenza is a serious infection of the airway system, and more dangerous to your child than the common cold. Flu prevention is now more important than ever to protect both people who may be vulnerable and the health care system. There is also the risk of severe illness from simultaneous infection by influenza and COVID-19 (coronavirus). The best way to protect your child is by getting them, yourself and your family vaccinated.
Severe complications and hospitalization from the flu are more likely in:

  • Children six months to four-years-old
  • Children with neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions like cerebral palsy and epilepsy
  • Children with chronic health problems like diabetes, asthma and compromised immunity

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, as well as other health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), recommends universal influenza immunization for individuals over six months of age.  

Children younger than nine-years-old who are receiving seasonal influenza vaccine for the first time require two doses with a minimum of four weeks between doses.

It is safe for the flu vaccine to be administered at the same time as any other vaccine, including COVID-19, in children over five years old. If your child is sick, wait until their symptoms subside before getting them vaccinated.

Where are vaccines available?
  • Your primary health care provider
  • Pharmacies for individuals over 5 years of age
  • Your local health unit
  • In some cases, your child’s school

The best way to protect your child and your family is to get your flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information about Influenza vaccines, click here.

Article by: Dr. Nicola Jones-Stokreef, Developmental Pediatrician, Children’s Treatment Network