Flu vaccines are considered safe. They’ve been given to hundreds of millions of people over 50 years here in the US.
Serious allergic reactions are very rare, less than 1 out of a million doses.
It’s important to get a flu shot annually because viruses change and the vaccine wears off as the antibody response declines over time.
However, there are some precautions so here are my prescriptions:
1. Most flu vaccines contain small amounts of egg protein. If your child is severely allergic to eggs, they can still be vaccinated, but do so with a medical doctor who can watch for a potential allergic reaction.
2. If your child is sick with a fever, please talk to your doctor first or wait until they are feeling well before getting a flu shot.
3. Most kids don’t have side effects, but some do. They may have redness, swelling or soreness where they received the vaccine, muscle aches or a low-grade fever. These will usually go away in a couple days.
4. In addition to the flu shot, please talk to your child about hygiene etiquette, like washing hands frequently while singing happy birthday or the alphabet song, and sneezing or coughing into their elbows.