Without a doubt, any circumstance that happens this autumn winter must be passed through the filter of the pandemic. We mean that this is happening with the Flu vaccine and recommendations that should be followed to apply it to the smallest. Every year the Advisory Committee on Vaccines of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics publishes its recommendations at the beginning of the autumn season, of which we give you a summary.
However, and being this committee in favour of influenza vaccination, it understands that this measure should be taken in accordance with the official recommendations of the public health authorities, because it is a priority to ensure the supply of vaccines for older persons and groups at risk of infection severe influenza and SARS-CoV-2.
Recommendations for vaccinating children with flu
You are sure to have in your head the main symptoms of the flu: fever, cough, snot, sore throat, as well as muscle and headaches. Some of these symptoms are also caused by COVID-19, which can cause alarm in many families. Like coronavirus, this must be added that it is a very contagious infectious disease, which in the most severe cases is associated with respiratory difficulties or pneumonia.
The Spanish Association of Pediatrics considers it appropriate to vaccinate influenza in the following cases:
- Children from 6 months of age and adolescents with basic illnesses who are at increased risk of influenza complications.
- Children from 6 months of age who live with patients at risk.
- People who live with children under 6 months.
- All health professionals.
- Pregnant women, both for their protection and that of the fetus.
Influenza vaccination for children over 6 months, not included in risk groups is a recommended measure, as this preventive practice provides the child with individual protection and promotes family and community protection. The Spanish Society of Outpatient Pediatrics and Primary Care (SEPEAP) recommends universal vaccination of influenza from 6 months before coincidence with COVID-19 this winter.
How and where is the flu vaccine administered?
The flu vaccine must be put on every year, because viruses change and the vaccine needs to be adapted. Children between 6 months and 8 years of age, the first year they are vaccinated need 2 doses, separated, at least 4 weeks. From the first year onwards, the rest of years is an annual dose. Boys and girls from 9 years and adolescents, always 1 dose per season, even if it is the first time they put it on. It is applied by pricking it on the thigh or arm, depending on age.
As to where, the situation generated by the pandemic has led to certain adjustments in the health system. Administering influenza vaccines is the responsibility of the Autonomous Communities. Each has established its own appointment systems in Primary Care Centres.
But there have also been changes, for example, in Grenada, before families with school-age children saw health care getting to schools and put vaccines there. But this year, immunization of children is being done in health centers.
Is there a link between the flu vaccine and COVID-19?
In some media outlets, news appeared in June that related to a study: Possible cause of the coronavirus pandemic. Immunological interference between Polysorbate 80 of the adjuvated flu vaccine and SARS-CoV-2, which suggested that influenza vaccine could interfere with the immune response to coronavirus.
From the Spanish Society of Immunology, its president, stressed in different media that there is no scientific evidence supporting the relationship of influenza vaccination and the infection caused by SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease.
Some of the criticisms that are made to the study from the scientific community are that they raise a series of assumptions that are not verified, lack statistical analysis, and criteria for selection of study groups. These and others make it not considered a reliable scientific study.