New guidelines on when kids should get the flu shot

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends flu vaccination by the end of October.

With this year’s flu season coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, pediatricians are urging parents to get their kids’ flu shots sooner rather than later.

In newly released guidelines, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends children receive their flu vaccinations by the end of October. This includes all eligible kids 6 months and older.

“This could be a very rough winter for respiratory illness,” said Becky S. Carothers, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Broadway. “It’s important for children to have protection against the flu before flu season begins, which is usually after Halloween.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 188 children and adolescents under age 19 died of flu complications during last year’s flu season. About 80% of children who die from influenza are unvaccinated.

This year’s vaccine for children includes two A and B flu virus strains to protect against the four major strains of the virus expected to circulate this season. Even if the shot doesn’t fully prevent the flu, being vaccinated likely will make the illness less severe and go away faster.

Get your child’s flu shot

Make an appointment at the location of Norton Children’s Medical Group, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, that’s most convenient to you.

Learn more

Is your child feeling sick?

Being able to identify the flu can help you decide when to visit your pediatrician. When you visit your provider, make sure you’re keeping yourself and others safer.

Signs and symptoms can include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though it is more common in children than adults.