May 3 2004
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has expanded its recommendations for annual influenza immunizations to include children ages 6 through 23 months, as well as close contacts and caregivers of children under age 2.
Recent studies show that children younger than age 2, and children with chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma and HIV, have a high risk of hospitalization for influenza and related complications, including severe pneumonia. In fact, young children are at higher risk of hospitalization for flu-related infections than healthy adults, ages 50 to 64, for whom annual immunizations have been recommended since 2000.
In revised policy statements, the Academy recommends that health care professionals diligently work to ensure annual immunizations for:
- Healthy children between 6 through 23 months of age during the flu season (October through March).
- Persons in close contact with high-risk children including health care professionals, family members, and caregivers of children ages 0 through 23 months.
- Children with a variety of conditions and diseases including asthma, cystic fibrosis, significant cardiac disease, HIV, sickle cell anemia, and diabetes.
- Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season.
The influenza immunization is not recommended for children younger than 6 months of age.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 57,000 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.