When should my child get a flu shot?

Dr. Diana K. Blythe, MD

Your kids should get the flu shot as soon as it becomes available for that flu season, as long as they are at least six months old. Since the flu shot changes every year to protect against the three most common types of the flu for that season, your kids will need to get a new flu shot every year.  In addition, if your child is less than 9 years old and is getting the flu shot for the first time, a booster flu shot is needed one month later.

Children should be vaccinated every flu season for the best protection against flu. For children who will need two doses of flu vaccine, the first dose should be given as early in the season as possible. For other children, it is good practice to get them vaccinated by the end of October, if possible. However, getting vaccinated later can still be protective, if the flu viruses are still spreading. While seasonal influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu infection. Therefore, it is best to get vaccinated before influenza begins spreading in your community.

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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.