All people 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine each year. Some flu vaccines come as a shot and some come as a nasal spray. Some people shouldn’t get the shot and some shouldn’t get the nasal spray. Your healthcare provider will help you choose the right form for you and your family.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the nasal spray vaccine for healthy children 2 through 8 years old when it is available. Recent research suggests that the nasal spray vaccine may work better than a flu shot for children in this age group. If the nasal spray is not available for your 2-to-8-year-old child, they should get the flu shot instead. Don’t wait to find the spray somewhere else – it’s best to get protected as soon as possible.
To learn more, read the Vaccine Information Statements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or ask your child's doctor.
- See your child's doctor or nurse to get the flu vaccine.
- If you need help finding flu vaccine, call the Family Health Hotline (English and Spanish) at 800-322-2588.
2014–2015 seasonal flu vaccine
It can be confusing to know how many doses of flu vaccine your child needs. Many situations are covered in the statements below, but if your child's situation is different, or if you have any questions, ask your child's healthcare provider.
- Find the statement below that is true for your child.
- If your child is younger than 9 and is being vaccinated for flu for the first time in their life, they need to receive 2 doses. The second dose should be given 4 weeks after the first dose.
- If your child is younger than 9 and they have received 2 or more doses of flu vaccine since July 1, 2010, then only 1 dose of 2014–2015 flu vaccine is needed this year.
- Babies younger than 6 months of age are too young to get flu vaccine.
For Current Patients and Families
Learn More About Flu Vaccinations
Prevent the Spread of Flu
- Wash your own and your child’s hands often with soap and warm water. Alcohol-based hand cleansers also work. Children should sing their ABCs twice in a row while washing their hands to ensure the proper length of time.
- Avoid people who are sick.
- People with the flu should stay home from work or school. They should stay home while they are sick and for at least one day after they no longer have a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
- Cover noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing: use tissue or the crook of your elbow when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue away in a covered trash bin.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Remind children to keep their hands away from their face to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
- Clean surfaces often, including toys, doorknobs, phone receivers, keyboards and tables.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as forks, spoons, toothbrushes and towels.
- The single best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine.
Information updated: October 17, 2014