Why the Flu Shot is So Important For Young Kids

Children under 5 and pregnant women are at the greatest risk of complications from influenza


We always do everything we can when it comes to protecting our kids. From making sure they have their seatbelt on to making sure they’re wearing a helmet when they’re riding their bike. We're always looking out for them. Getting the flu shot shouldn't be any different, according to Dr. Arlene King, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Flu season is fast approaching, which means it’s time to protect both you and your family. Specifically your little ones who are at higher risk of getting the influenza. Dr. King is asking parents to do one thing this season: make sure your children get the flu shot. 

“Many people understand that the elderly are at higher risk of serious illness or even death as a result of influenza, but what they may not realize is that young children – especially those under five – are among those at highest risk. That’s why we’re issuing a special appeal to parents to make sure that their young children are protected by getting the flu shot,” says Dr. King.

Data from the 2011-12 flu season shows that the greatest number of reported cases of influenza in children are found among those aged one to four years. Your children are vulnerable, and when they’re not protected, the outcome can be devastating. The rates of serious illness, hospitalization and death are highest among little ones under two-years-old.

And it's not just about protecting children, this includes pregnant women as well. Pregnant women are at higher risk of complications related to the influenza compared to non-pregnant women. Just like children, one of the only things that can protect them is the flu shot which also helps protect the unborn child. If you’re worried of the possible side effects, multiple studies show that the flu shot has no significant side effects for a pregnant woman and her unborn baby.

If you live in Ontario the shot is usually accessible through your doctor's office, various flu clinics across the province, as well as workplaces that choose to host flu shot clinics. For those five years and older, you can also obtain the shot at one of 2,000 pharmacies across Ontario.

According to the Ministry of Healthy, every year, the flu shot prevents 30,000 visits to the ER. Those numbers include dozens if not hundreds of children who were protected by the flu shot. Getting the shot can literally save their life. 



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