Experts advise that children receive the vaccine as soon as it is available, but to continue vaccination efforts throughout the influenza season
ITASCA, IL— The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) renews its recommendation that all children ages 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine this fall to prevent severe illness. Children younger than 5 years, especially those younger than 2 years, and children with certain underlying medical conditions are particularly vulnerable.
“As we saw during the 2022-23 flu season, influenza can cause serious illness in children,” said Kristina Bryant, MD, FAAP, who serves on the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. “We have safe and effective vaccines that can protect children from severe flu and reduce the spread of influenza in the community, and we need to increase access to these vaccines.”
The policy statement “Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2023–2024” gives credible vaccine information with updates for the 2023–2024 influenza season. A companion technical report offers greater detail on recent influenza seasons, influenza vaccine effectiveness, vaccination coverage, timing of vaccination, duration of protection, and vaccine delivery strategies. Both will be published in the October 2023 Pediatrics (published online Aug. 29).
The AAP says any licensed influenza vaccine appropriate for age and health status can be administered, without preference for any product or formulation as soon as doses are available.
Influenza vaccines for the 2023-’24 season have been updated to include a new influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 component. The influenza A (H3N2), influenza B Yamagata lineage and influenza B Victoria lineage components remain the same. Other updates include:
Although flu vaccine remains the best way to protect children against illnesses linked to influenza, immunization rates fell again last year and disparities in rates persist.
To promote influenza vaccination in communities affected by health disparities, the AAP emphasizes engaging community members in the development of culturally relevant strategies. Public and private payers are requested to offer adequate payment for influenza vaccine supply and administration to pediatric populations.
Policy statements created by AAP are written by medical experts, reflect the latest evidence in the field, and go through several rounds of peer review before being approved by the AAP Board of Directors and published in Pediatrics.
The AAP has resources to improve communications about the importance of the influenza vaccine and promote vaccine confidence. For more information, visit https://www.aap.org/en/patient-care/influenza.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.