Q&A: Flu Shots

A glass vial of flu shot vaccine sitting on a red countertopQ:
My 9-year-old daughter has asthma. She had her flu shot late in the season in April 2009. Should I take her to get another one now or is there a time period to wait since she has already received one in 2009?

A: Flu viruses change from year to year. You can get influenza more than once during your lifetime. The immunity that is built up from having influenza caused by one virus strain doesn’t always provide protection when a new strain is circulating. Also, a vaccine made against influenza viruses that circulated last year may not protect you against the newer viruses. That is why the influenza vaccine is updated to include current viruses every year. I would recommend that you get your child immunized with the current season’s influenza vaccine.

The American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza campaign encourages Americans to see themselves and their loved ones among the many “faces” of influenza – people who fall into one or more target groups recommended for annual vaccination by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which includes adults and children with chronic health problems, like asthma.

Vaccination typically begins in October and can continue through March. In most seasons, influenza virus activity peaks in February or March, so vaccination throughout the entire influenza season is beneficial and recommended.

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