Last month on The PediaBlog, we received our first forecast for the coming influenza season, based on the clinical experiences of those living in the Southern Hemisphere, where they are just now emerging from their “unremarkable” flu season as their winter ends:

Don’t let these words fool you: An “average” flu season means “terrible” for those who get sick with influenza!


Here is what the American Academy of Pediatrics is saying about avoiding the misery of this vaccine-preventable infection:

Providers must remain vigilant, as the influenza virus is unpredictable. The influenza season may start early in the fall/winter, have more than one disease peak and extend into late spring. Therefore, as soon as the seasonal influenza vaccine is available locally, health care personnel should be immunized, parents and caregivers should be notified about vaccine availability, and immunization of all children 6 months and older, especially children at high risk of complications from influenza, should begin. There is no evidence that administering the vaccine early in the influenza season increases the risk of infection.


AAPNews reviewed the AAP’s most recent Policy Statement regarding the 2015-16 influenza season and reports that the components of this year’s vaccines differ slightly from last year:

The trivalent vaccine contains the following virus strains:

  • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus
  • A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage).

The quadrivalent influenza vaccine includes the same three strains as the trivalent vaccine plus B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage).

The influenza A (H3N2) and B (Yamagata lineage) vaccine strains differ from those contained in the 2014-’15 seasonal vaccines.


So who should get a vaccine to prevent influenza? Every person six months and older who doesn’t have a medical contraindication for receiving the vaccine. Pediatricians place special emphasis on the following groups of people:

  • children with conditions that increase the risk of complications from influenza (e.g., asthma, diabetes mellitus, hemodynamically significant cardiac disease, immunosuppression, or neurologic and neurodevelopmental disorders)
  • children of American Indian/Alaska Native heritage
  • all household contacts and out-of-home care providers of:
    — children with high-risk conditions
    — children younger than 5 years, especially infants younger than 6 months
  • all health care personnel
  • all child care providers and staff
  • all women who are considering pregnancy, are pregnant, are in the postpartum period or are breastfeeding during the influenza season.


If you know anyone in any of these high-risk groups (believe me, you do), please do everything you can to protect them from getting influenza this (and every) year by getting a flu vaccine for you and yours.

As we’ve pointed out before:

There’s no good excuse for not getting a flu vaccine. It’s fast and easy. It barely hurts. (If you want no pain, ask about the FluMist.) It won’t get you sick (unless you have a horrible egg allergy or your own doctor advises you to avoid it for other medical reasons). It is covered by health insurance. (You’re already paying for it, so you might as well get one.)
Most importantly, influenza vaccines save lives — maybe yours, and if you get one, maybe mine.


The PediaBlog will keep you updated, as we did last year, as the 2015-16 influenza season unfolds.

More PediaBlog about influenza and influenza vaccine here. Everything else you could possibly want to know that is evidence-based about influenza and the influenza vaccine can be found in the AAP’s Policy Statement: “Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2015–2016.”