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What are flu vaccine guidelines for young children?

There are special flu vaccination guidelines for children six months through eight years of age. Some children in this age group require two doses of influenza vaccine. If your child falls into this age group and is getting vaccinated for the first time or has previously received only one dose of vaccine, two doses of the vaccine are recommended for this season.

All children who have previously received two doses of vaccine (at any time) only need one dose of vaccine this season. The first dose should be given as soon as the flu vaccine becomes available. The second dose should be given at least 28 days after the first dose. The first dose “primes” the immune system. The second dose provides immune protection. Children who only get one dose of the influenza vaccine but need two doses can have reduced or no protection from the flu.

If your child needs the two doses, begin the process early. This will ensure that your child is protected before the flu starts to spread throughout your community. It usually takes about two weeks after the second dose for protection to begin.

Recommendations on the control and prevention of influenza are published annually, in late summer or early fall.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.