Why some children need 2 flu shots this year

By Leada Gore, The Associated Press

Bric Arnold, 10, reacts to an influenza vaccine. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)AP

Fall is the recommended time for most people to get their flu shot. Some children will need two jabs, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An annual influenza vaccine is recommended for most children ages 6 months and older. Children ages 6 months to 8 years receiving their first flu vaccines who have not previously received a total of two or more doses in their lives or whose flu vaccine history isn’t known, need two doses.

CDC recommends children get the first dose as soon as it is available because the second dose should be given at least four weeks after the first.

Ideally, everyone 6 months and older should be vaccinated by the end of October, though the CDC said even later vaccinations can provide protection as long as flu viruses are spreading – even into January or later.

“Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to develop antibodies against flu virus infection, it is best to get vaccinated so they are protected before flu begins spreading in their community,” CDC noted.

If your child previously got two doses of flu vaccine, they only need one dose this season.

Recommendations for a second flu shot for some children isn’t new but can be important during a heavy flu season, especially as COVID-19 continues to circulate. Children younger than 5 – especially those younger than 2 – are at higher risk of developing serious-flu related complications such as pneumonia, dehydration or sinus and ear infections.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle or body aches, tiredness and vomiting or diarrhea.