Children are usually the ones who bring the flu virus into the classroom or home. Once the virus is introduced, coughing, sneezing, touching contaminated surfaces and sharing objects like toys or eating utensils can spread the virus quickly and easily.
Even healthy young people can become very sick with the flu. Vaccinating school-aged children not only helps to keep children healthy and reduce school absenteeism, it also helps to prevent the spread of influenza in the community.
Healthy children ages 6 months to 23 months are at greater risk for complications and hospitalization because of the flu. Influenza illnesses also cause an increase in the number of ear infections and antibiotic prescriptions among preschoolers.
It is recommended that children 6 months to 9 years of age, who have never received seasonal flu vaccine, get two doses given at least 4 weeks apart. Children who have received seasonal flu vaccine in previous years only need one dose for protection.