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Study shows flu shot important for children

In a study in today's Pediatrics, doctors found that flu shots can keep kids out of the doctor's office, even when that season's vaccines aren't a perfect match for viruses in the community, according to USA Today.

"In a two-year study of 2,500 children ages 6 months to 5 years, those who were fully vaccinated had half as many flu-related medical visits. Children under 9 need two shots — given one month apart — to be fully vaccinated. Older kids need just a single shot. Researchers found that "partly" vaccinated children got no protection." (USA Today)

The Lancaster Eagle Gazette reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it is changing its flu shot recommendations for children.

Up until February 2008, the recommendation was children 6 months to 5 years old, now it will be children 6 months to 19 years old.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is publishing its new guidelines Sunday, which recommend a flu shot for all healthy children ages 6 months to 18 years, nearly matching the CDC's recommendation changes, according to USA Today.

One in four eligible children have been immunized against the flu in the past, Joseph Bocchini, chairman of the pediatric academy's committee on infectious diseases told USA Today.

Up to 25% of children get influenza each year, Bocchini told USA Today. Because babies younger than 6 months are too young to be vaccinated, experts suggest those living in the house with them and caregivers get vaccinated to protect them.