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Flu Vaccination for (Almost) All Kids?

A federal advisory panel yesterday recommended that all children 6 months through 17 years (except those with serious egg allergies) get the flu vaccine. If the Centers for Disease Control acts on this advice, it would be a shift from the current recommendation that only children from 6 months to 5 years old be vaccinated. Here's our story.

But the recommendations wouldn't take effect until 2009 because vaccine orders already have been placed for the next flu season, and there are concerns that there might not be enough to cover all those children.

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This, it seems to me, leaves parents and pediatricians with an interesting dilemma in the meantime. Will more parents push for their kids between 5 and 18 to be vaccinated in 2008, knowing that this panel thinks it's a good idea? If you asked them now -- in the thick of a very bad flu season in Maryland, when many parents are nursing their own kids through flu and catching it from them -- the answer might be yes.

And how will pediatricians respond if they are asked this year to vaccinate a child who falls within the future, but not the current, recommendations? After all, one reason this year's flu season is bad is that the vaccine offered didn't exactly match the strains that are out there.

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I'd like to hear both parents and pediatricians weigh in on this. Spread the word (but not the flu, please! :)

(Sun file photo by Jed Kirschbaum)

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