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Why should my child get vaccinated against the flu?

The flu vaccine helps reduce your child's chances of getting sick with the flu and having to go to the hospital.

Did you know that each year, millions of children get sick with seasonal flu; thousands of children are hospitalised, and some children die from flu? Children commonly need medical care because of flu, especially children younger than 5 years old.

How the flu injection can help protect your child

The flu injection reduces the likelihood of illness, which means your child will be able to attend school or childcare, and you will not have to miss work. It reduces your child’s chance of severe flu complications, especially if they are under the age of five or have certain chronic diseases. It also aids in preventing flu transmission to family and friends, particularly in babies under the age of six months who are too young to receive a flu vaccine.

When should my child get vaccinated against the flu?

Starting from as young as six months old, doctors recommend that your child receive a flu vaccine every winter.

Is the flu shot safe for my child?

Vaccines for influenza have a strong safety record. Flu vaccines have been safely administered to hundreds of millions of South Africans for more than 50 years, and substantial research has been conducted to support their safety.

What are the possible side-effects?

Vaccines, like any other medicine, can cause mild side effects. When flu vaccine side effects do occur, they are usually minor and go away on their own after a few days. The following are some of the most common flu shot side-effects:

  • Soreness, redness, and swelling in the area where the shot was administered
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Muscle pain
  • Mild flu-like symptoms, including a stuffy nose and wheezing

Why does my child need to get a flu shot every year?

Because flu viruses are continually evolving, new vaccines are developed each year to protect against the most likely strains to cause sickness. Furthermore, the flu vaccine’s protection falls off with time. Your child’s flu shot will protect them from the flu for the entire season, but they will need another vaccine for the best protection next flu season.

What exactly is the flu?

Influenza, or flu, is a virus-borne sickness caused by influenza viruses. The nose, upper airways, throat, and lungs are infected by flu viruses. Flu is widely distributed and can cause severe disease, particularly in small children, the elderly, pregnant women, and individuals with chronic illnesses such as asthma and diabetes.

Can the flu shot give my child the flu?

No, flu shots don’t make you sick. Currently, flu vaccinations are manufactured in one of two ways:

  1. Using viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ (killed) and are no longer infectious
  2. Using viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ (dead) but are still infectious

Because researchers use only a single gene from a flu virus (rather than the entire virus), your child won’t develop flu.

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