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Vaccinating Children Against the Flu May Help the Elderly

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"These are striking figures, and they certainly suggest that we should at least consider whether vaccinating children [against the flu] is something we should be doing," Gellin says.

CDC medical epidemiologist Carolyn Bridges says the logistics of immunizing every child against the flu would be daunting, and there is currently not enough vaccine manufactured each year to do so.

"The truth is that we are not doing a very good job of reaching high-risk people already, and that goes for children and adults," she tells WebMD. "Right now I don't see how we could embark on a plan to vaccinate all kids, when we are only vaccinating 10% of children with asthma. They are supposed to be vaccinated because they fall into a high-risk group, but it isn't happening."

As early as next year, a flu vaccine delivered as a nasal spray could be available for use in the U.S. The vaccine was specifically tested in children, and Gellin says it will probably be better accepted by parents and healthcare providers than the current vaccine administered by needle.

"If studies show that we should be vaccinating children against the flu, I have no doubt that we can do so," he says. "We probably have the best infrastructure in the world for delivering immunizations to children."

 

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