The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics have released recommendations on childhood vaccinations for the 2019-2020 influenza season.
“Historically, up to 80% of pediatric deaths have occurred in unvaccinated children six months and older. Influenza vaccination is associated with reduced risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza-related pediatric death,” AAP wrote in its recommendations for 2019-2020.
The primary changes in recommendations this flu season compared to last year are:
- The age indication for Afluria Quadrivalent has been expanded from five years and older to six months and older. The dose volume for Afluria Quadrivalent is 0.25 mL for children aged six through 35 months and 0.5 mL for everyone three years and older, the CDC said in its August 23 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
- The dose volume for Fluzone Quadrivalent for children six months through 35 months, which was previously 0.25 mL, is now either 0.25 mL or 0.5 mL. The dose volume for Fluzone Quadrivalent is 0.5 mL for everyone three years and older, the CDC said.
- Both inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) and live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) are options for influenza vaccination in children, with no preference, AAP said.
- The composition of the influenza vaccines for 2019–2020 has been updated. The A(H1N1)pdm09 and A(H3N2) components of the vaccine are new for this season. The B strains are unchanged from the previous season, according to the AAP.
- All pediatric influenza vaccines will be quadrivalent vaccines, and no trivalent vaccines are expected to be available for children this season. The age indication for some pediatric vaccines has been expanded, AAP said. There are now four egg-based quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccines (IIV4s) licensed by the FDA for administration to children six months and older, one inactivated cell-based quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (cIIV4) for children four years and older, and one quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV4) for children two years and older.
- Children six months through eight years of age who are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time or who have received only one dose before July 1, 2019, should receive two doses of influenza vaccine ideally by the end of October, and vaccines should be offered as soon as they become available, AAP said. Children needing only one dose of influenza vaccine, regardless of age, should also receive vaccination ideally by the end of October.