My family / friends are telling me that I absolutely must get our 8 month old the flu shot this year. I myself have never had a flu shot and neither has my husband, in fact we are fairly anti-flu shot. So I tend to be hesitant about getting one for our baby. Everyone we know who religiously get one every year seems to always get sick and stay sick for so much of the winter. We have a pedi appt next month and I need to know what to do. Please weigh in pros and cons and if you have any supporting evidence one way or the other. Thanks in advance.
There is evidence which suggests the flu vaccines is not better than a placebo in children under 2, so it's probably of little benefit. Unfortunately while the flu shot reduces the risk of catching flu, it's a tiny risk to start with - so there's really only significant benefit (in my opinion) at a population level - on a personal level I don't think it helps anyone very much.
However it's also very safe if you believe the evidence (which I know many people who post here don't, but I do), so there's no real harm in getting it either, and it might help a bit.
Sorry there's no black and white answer to this one - like with many vaccine debates.
Mother of two living in UK. Daughter (2007) born in USA, son (2010) born here. I'm pro natural birth, midwife care, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and a keen advocate of cloth diapering. I'm a full time working research scientist (physical sciences) and I'm pro-vaccine.
there is not enough evidence to support vaccinating babies for flu
Yeah, I have to say we didn't bother getting my 21-month-old the flu shot last year. My husband and I got it, but taking the kid in to a separate appointment to get something we're not sure works very well in babies... meh.
The flu shot isn't necessarily the most effective vaccine of all time. It vaccinates for a few strains, but who's to say you won't get another strain of flu that wasn't in the shot?
I get it because it is not *harmful* to me in any way. I don't react badly to vaccines and never have, and a few more antibodies in my body? The more the merrier, basically. So why not get the flu shot in my case (in Canada it is free)? It can't hurt and can only help.
But the inconvenience of taking my kid into an extra doctor's appointment means that I didn't do it with him this season. If I happen to have him at a hospital in the next few months, and they're all, oh hey, do you want a flu shot? Then I might get it.
I didn't vaccinate my daughter during the past 2 years because of the lack of efficacy in that age group. Her second birthday was a few months ago. I'm still looking into the efficacy in her current age group (well, okay, I haven't actually started looking yet, but I should do that soon). As for having to make a separate appointment, if I want just a shot I can call the office and arrange to see the MA, and usually I can schedule that for whatever time is convenient for me, so it's not that much of a hassle--at least, not as much as making a regular appointment.