WEDNESDAY, March 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Good news for kids: Next flu season, you can avoid a painful needle jab and get the nasal vaccine spray instead, according to a leading U.S. pediatricians' group.
In recent flu seasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended the shot over the nasal spray -- except if a child refused a shot -- due to questions about the nasal spray's effectiveness. However, changes to the nasal spray appear to have improved its effectiveness, and the academy is now endorsing the either/or vaccine scenario.
The new recommendation matches advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"All children 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine, in whatever form their pediatrician recommends," said Dr. Bonnie Maldonado, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases.
"Every year, we are never sure if the vaccine strains are going to be perfectly matched up with incoming flu strains, but based on the information that we have now, we believe the nasal spray is an acceptable option," she explained in an academy news release.
Both types of flu vaccination were approved by the AAP board of directors after a review of the latest data. The decision was announced now because doctors are placing vaccine orders for the 2019-2020 flu season.
"The flu virus is unpredictable and can cause serious complications even in healthy children," said Dr. Flor Munoz, a member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. "Children who have been immunized are less likely to be hospitalized due to flu."
The rate of flu vaccination among U.S. children rose from 38 percent in November 2017 to 45 percent in November 2018, according to the AAP.
The academy also said parents should talk with their pediatrician if they have any questions about their child's immunizations.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on children and flu.
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