Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=99569
Story Retrieval Date: 5/25/2013 11:15:54 AM CST
The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children between the ages of 6 months and 18 years old receive the flu vaccination.
In 2007-2008, the Academy's recommendation included children from 6 months to 59 months according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The age increase has widely expanded the number of people requiring the vaccine.
“They keep upping it every year,” said Dr. Scott Goldstein, pediatrician at the Northwestern Children’s Practice in Chicago. The age-range has been expanded every year since he started his practice five-years ago. The vaccine has become more effective and there is more of it available to offer, said Goldstein.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 30 million additional children will receive the vaccine under the new policy.
“Kids can get very sick from getting the flu, they can’t get very sick from getting the vaccine. You can die from the flu, you’re not going to die from the vaccine.” said Goldstein.
However, not everyone agrees about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
Kristina and Evan Eschmeyer watched their toddler twins play in the lobby of Dr. Goldstein’s office before their annual check-up.
“That’s something we haven’t fought about yet this year,” said Kristina referring to whether their children would be vaccinated.
Evan encourages the shot and does not believe there is evidence that the flu vaccine poses a threat to children. In fact, he believes getting sick from the flu is a bigger risk than getting vaccinated.
But his wife Kristina is not so sure. Following recent controversy she is worried about the thimerosal, a preservative containing mercury put into the vaccine. Plus, she said her twins got the vaccine last year, but they still wound-up miserable with the flu.
Many parents are concerned about the mercury preservative put into vaccines after it was accused of causing autism in young children. However, recent biological and epidemiological studies published by the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found there is no link between thimerosal (the mercury preservative) and autism.
The amount of mercury in the vaccine would be the same as eating a tuna fish sandwich, said Goldstein. However, there are a few vaccines that are thimerosal free, including prefilled syringes Fluzone and AFLURIA.
The CDC stresses the most effective way for preventing influenza is the vaccination, which is recommending that 261 million people receive the flu vaccine this season. Even with the large demand of vaccination there is no expected shortage for this upcoming season.