‘Catch the holiday spirit, not the flu’ is the mantra for this week from the American Academy of Pediatrics as flu season begins in Middle Tennessee. Many children remain unvaccinated, although pediatricians’ offices now have flu vaccine on hand.
“Many people tried to get their children vaccinated in October, but because of a delay, flu vaccine (FluZone, approved for children ages 3 and younger) wasn’t available,” said Paul Hain, director of the Hospitalist Program at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. “But the vaccine began arriving in the last couple of weeks, so parents need to get their children 6 months and older vaccinated now,” he said, adding that flu cases have begun to appear at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and elsewhere in Nashville.
There is still adequate time for protection from the flu, he said. “Many parents think it takes a full two weeks for a flu shot to take effect. But the truth is, it is likely that some protection will begin developing within about 36 hours and grow from there,” he said.
Clinics at Vanderbilt Children’s, and the hospital’s Emergency Department, are filling up quickly with children suffering seasonal viruses, including the flu. Doctors urge parents to get to their pediatrician’s office, pharmacy-based clinics, or to check with their local health department to obtain pediatric flu vaccine for their children.