New flu guidelines call for all children to be vaccinated

New flu shot guidelines recently released by the American Academy of Pediatrics advise that all children six months of age and older should receive the annual trivalent influenza vaccine this flu season.

The AAP also recommends that efforts should be made to immunize people in certain high-risk areas who may be most vulnerable to flu-related complications, Yahoo!News reports, including family members and those who care for children younger than five years of age, children with high-risk medical conditions like asthma or diabetes, pregnant women and health care workers.

AAP officials told Yahoo!News that two influenza vaccines were recommended last year, but only one trivalent vaccine is being produced for the 2010-2011 influenza season. The new vaccine will contain a revised H1N1 strain, as well as two other strains of the flu virus.

AAP officials say children younger than six months of age should not receive the influenza vaccine because they are too young. They also noted that only one dose is needed for children nine years of age or older.

For children between six months and nine years of age, a minimum of two doses of 2009 pandemic H1N1 vaccine is needed. If they have already received the H1N1 vaccine during last year's flu season, one dose of vaccine is needed this year. Otherwise, children will need two doses of seasonal influenza vaccine this year, officials said.

The officials also noted that all children who are recommended to get two doses this year should receive the second dose at least four weeks after the first dose.