BabySpace Q&A: The Flu Vaccine

Question: I'm split on the flu vaccine for my pre-schooler.  Do the pros out weigh the cons? I'm worried the shot will make them sick and that the vaccine isn't 100% effective!!

Answer:   We do feel that the pros outweigh the cons! Young children are particularly vulnerable to contracting the flu. The vaccine protects them from serious illnesses/complications and in some severe cases even death. We urge parents to follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation that all family members get an annual flu shot just prior to flu season. Currently there isn't any research proving any adverse affects of the flu vaccine. Side effects in some children include symptoms far milder and short-lived than the flu itself - for example, soreness at the injection site, low fever, muscle aches, and fatigue lasting a day or two. If you are worried about additives such as "Thimerosal," talk to your doctor about getting a "Thimerosal-free" shot, or having your pre-schooler take the the nasal spray vaccine, avoiding the shot all together. We always suggest having a conversation with your pediatrician prior to any vaccinations since he/she knows your child's medical history.

Caren Gitlin and Jessica Battaini are the founders of BabySpace, a unique, supportive Parent and Me community for parents to transition into their new and exciting roles, embrace parenthood, and build confidence in their parenting skills.