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Safety of Flu Vaccine for Young Children Reaffirmed

Armen Hareyan's picture

Flu Vaccine For Children

Parents wondering if they should get their young children immunized against influenza now have new information to make an informed decision and protect their kids from the flu. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Colorado's Clinical Research Unit and a pediatrician at Denver Health studying the safety of the flu vaccine in young children have found the flu shot to be safe for children aged six to 23 months. The study is published in the October 25, 2006, issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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The study looked at more than 69,000 immunizations for more than 45,000 children, the largest number of children ever studied for flu vaccine safety. The records are part of a large database that links records at eight major health plans in the United States, including Kaiser Permanente Colorado. This Vaccine Safety Datalink is a powerful tool that allowed researchers to review any reason why a child saw a doctor up to six weeks after getting their shot and look for possible side effects. The study found very few instances that required medical attention, none of which were serious and significantly associated with the vaccine.

"We are very excited about these findings. Knowing that the influenza vaccine is safe for children between the ages of six months and 23 months is reassuring for both parents and pediatricians," said Simon Hambidge, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator for the study, and a pediatrician at Denver Health. "As a researcher, it's reassuring to have such a large body of evidence to reaffirm the safety of the vaccine and eliminate the shot itself as a cause for why kids are getting sick. We also encourage parents to make sure that their children receive all their regularly scheduled immunizations along with the influenza vaccine so that they will be protected from many serious illnesses."

Influenza is a leading vaccine-preventable cause of illness and death in the United States. Children aged six