Why I’m Grateful for the Flu Vaccine

We’re so grateful to Courtney for partnering with us to share her family’s story! View Courtney’s full blog post here.

Cold and flu season is in full effect. And if your family is anything like mine, your kids are home more often, you’re going through boxes of tissues daily, and “Covid tests” are now part of your kids’ daily language.

My youngest daughter Ellie recently had her six-month well-check visit at her pediatrician and along with her scheduled vaccines, she received the second dose of her flu vaccine. While I don’t love watching my girls get poked with needles, I am so grateful for the protection these vaccines provide.

The flu vaccine is one we all get as a family every year. After all the colds and illnesses, we deal with each winter, I can’t imagine the stress and anxiety we would feel if we couldn’t protect our girls against the flu.

As parents, we have enough to deal with and worry about when it comes to our kids. Keep up with the scheduled vaccinations recommended by your pediatrician so you can rest easy knowing you’ve done everything you can to protect your children against these additional illnesses.

It is not too late to get your flu vaccine this year. We are still in peak flu season and protecting yourself and your kids can help safeguard them from getting seriously sick and prevent you from worrying about missing more work and losing sleep over your child’s health.

Protecting Kids Against the Flu

The flu is especially dangerous to children. Kids under 5, particularly if they’re under 2, are susceptible to flu-related complications that can be quite serious.

While most children recover from the flu, severe complications can include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Dehydration
  • Worsening of heart disease or asthma
  • In rare cases, death

The flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu. The CDC recommends vaccinating children early in the season, ideally by the end of October. There are some children who require two doses of the vaccine, the earlier you can get them the first dose, the better chance of protection at the onset of flu season.

Though it is beneficial to get your vaccinations done early, don’t ever skip them just because it is later in the season. If the viruses are still circulating, it’s still a good time to get vaccinated.

At our pediatrician’s office, they do flu shot clinics and our entire family can get their flu shot at the same time. We schedule an appointment and arrive at the office. They usher us into a room where a nurse comes in with shots for each of us. The nurse administers the vaccines, we hug our girls if they cry, and we’re on our way. Ask your pediatrician if they offer a clinic. Most will be scheduled throughout October, so September is a great time to ask.

Addressing Concerns with the Flu Vaccine

I have never hesitated when it comes to getting my children vaccinated according to their pediatrician’s recommendations. The flu vaccine, in particular, has been proven to be:

Effective. Since flu strains are constantly changing, the flu vaccine is updated each season to be as effective as possible against the most dominant strains.

Safe. The flu vaccine has been researched, studied, and monitored to ensure its safety in children and adults. For over 50 years, there have been hundreds of millions of Americans safely receiving the flu vaccine each year.

Protective. A study done in 2018 based on 2016-2017 flu data showed that the flu vaccine prevented flu-related ICU visits by 82%. In the same year, 2016-2017, the CDC estimated that the flu vaccine prevented 5.3 million influenza illnesses and 82,000 hospitalizations.

Even though I am comfortable getting my kids vaccinated against the flu each year, you might have concerns and that is very normal. I urge you to speak about any concerns or questions you have with your child’s pediatrician. Ask detailed questions and, if they can, they should be giving you detailed answers.

More Information on the Flu Vaccine

For more information on the flu vaccine, please visit these resources:

Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine (CDC)

Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children (AAP)

Fighting the Flu (I Vaccinate)

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You’ve got questions. That’s a good thing.

As parents, determining how best to protect our children can be overwhelming and confusing. We’re here to help.

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About I Vaccinate

I Vaccinate provides information and tools based on real medical science and research to help Michigan parents protect their kids. Support is provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Franny Strong Foundation.

You’ve got questions. That’s a good thing.

As parents, determining how best to protect our children can be overwhelming and confusing. We’re here to help.

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