Mindful Pediatrics is pleased to announce that we have received our first shipment of preservative/mercury/thimerosal free flu vaccines for the 2020-2021 season for both children and adults.
About the 2020 – 2021 Flu Vaccine
This year’s vaccine has expanded coverage for four strains of influenza. Here is a good resource from the CDC with more details on this year’s flu shot: Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions: 2020-2021 Season
Scheduling & Payment
- Supplies are limited and due to the seasonal nature of this vaccine, it will be given on a first come first serve basis. You will be asked to pay when you schedule your visit and payments are non-refundable.
- We have ordered plenty of vaccines for our regular patients and their parents but suspect that the demand will be higher than normal this year. Mindful Pediatrics is one of the few practices to offer mercury free flu vaccine to adults.
- The cost of the vaccine is $45 per dose and there is no additional visit fee.
- Please call 303.318.4102 to reserve your vaccine and schedule an appointment.
Additional Details for Children Under 8-Years Old
- Children under the age of 8 years old require 2 doses, one month apart, for proper immunity only the first year they receive the flu shot.
- All children who have previously received a flu shot will only require one dose.
- You may reserve the second dose for your child by pre-paying for it when you schedule your appointment.
Who Should Receive the Flu Shot?
The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend that all children and adults receive the influenza (flu) vaccine annually. Although I am aware that flu vaccine prevents significant mortality and morbidity annually, I find it difficult to recommend that we vaccinate our children (potentially) more than 80 times over their lifetime. How many times are they truly likely to get infected by influenza over their lifetime? That being said, certain populations are considered higher risk and I do recommend the following:
- The highest risk for serious infection is in the first 6 months of life. The problem is that these children are not eligible to receive the flu vaccine. In general I recommend vaccinating close contacts including siblings, parents and regular caretakers. This is often called “cocooning”.
- Children under the age of 5 years old (especially in the first 3 years) are also more likely to be hospitalized and suffer complications from the flu. In general, I would consider vaccinating children in day care, school or with older siblings in these settings.
- Children with chronic illness regardless of age should be considered for the flu shot. Examples include: Prematurity, asthma, other chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic gastrointestinal illness, diabetes, seizures, and immune deficiencies.
- Women who are likely to become pregnant or are pregnant during the flu season should also consider getting vaccinated, as they are more likely to suffer complications including mortality.
- Families that travel frequently in the fall and winter are at higher risk for contracting infectious illnesses and may consider getting a flu vaccine for that reason.
- We know that adults over the age of 65 years old or younger adults with chronic health conditions can also be at much greater risk for complications. It is sometimes wise to vaccinate the child in order to protect a vulnerable family member or close contact.
The Flu Shot & COVID-19
For many families in our practice, deciding whether to get the flu shot yearly already feels difficult and confusing on an average year, even when there isn’t a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic that has left most of us with severe “catch-22” decision fatigue.
Here are a few thoughts to consider that will hopefully help make the decision easier for you…
Reasons to Consider Getting the Flu Shot
- Narrowing down the differential diagnosis. Because there is so much overlap in their symptoms, it can be very difficult to differentiate between the common cold, flu, and COVID-19. Getting a flu shot could decrease the number of variables we need to consider if you or your child do get ill.
- Managing increased fear of illness. As we suspected (and is totally understandable) we are already finding that for many of you any hint of illness is creating heightened anxiety and confusion. Under normal circumstances our community prides itself on our resilience to illness due to a holistic lifestyle, but this year has left many people second guessing. Do you get a COVID-19 test? Do you quarantine from friends and family members? Can you go to work?
- Decreased flu testing availability. Because many small practices (such as ours) may not be able to see respiratory illness this winter (due to shortages in Personal Protective Equipment) it may be more challenging to get rapid flu testing, which we normally do in the office. We may have to refer our patients to get these tests at outpatient labs, urgent cares, and hospitals. Doing so would potentially increase your exposure to COVID-19 and viruses of all kinds, as well as further heighten already higher anxiety for some.
- Combined COVID-19 & Influenza. It is common to get infected with more than one virus at a time. Though it is still uncertain at this time, it is speculated that a co-infection with influenza and COVID-19 may lead to a more severe and threatening illness.
Reasons You May Be At Lower Risk for Flu
- Decreased exposure. Most families are in dramatically less contact to other children (and people in general), dramatically decreased airline travel, and a new awareness of hygiene and mask wearing, you may actually have a significantly decrease exposure to flu this year. Many parents are working from home and many children are enrolled in home-learning and not physically in school at this time. If you are planning on laying low and living a fairly sheltered life this winter, this may be a reason against getting a flu shot is year.
My Basic Guidelines for Vaccination
Although the American Academy of pediatrics and CDC only recommend avoiding vaccines with serious illness, I only recommend vaccinating your child if they are completely healthy. For most children I would simply wait a week or two after they have recovered from an acute illness.
For children with chronic illness I recommend setting up an appointment to personally discuss whether it makes sense to vaccinate your child. For children with complicated illness, it can be more challenging to assess the risk/reward ratio.
Children who have severe egg allergy may need to receive the vaccine at an allergist office.
How to Decide if the Flu Shot is Right for You and Your Children
We know that this is a difficult decision for many of the families in our practice. That’s why I created a 3-Part Video Series to Answer ALL Your Questions About the Flu & the Flu Vaccine
Video #1: What’s True About the Flu?
In Video #1 you will learn:
- The difference between the common cold and the flu
- Flu facts and statistics
- The problem with flu statistics
- The complications from the flu and who is at greatest risk
Video #2: Is the Flu Vaccine Right for You & Your Children?
In Video #2 we will address the following questions:
- What are the current recommendations for the flu vaccine?
- How often do we actually get the flu in our lifetime?
- What are flu complications and who is at greatest risk?
- What is cocooning?
- Should all individuals in higher risk groups (such as infants and pregnant women) get the flu vaccine?
- How to make individualized decisions about whether or not to get the flu vaccine, even within the same family?
- Can you get the flu from the flu vaccine?
- Do you need to get the flu vaccine annually?
- If you get the flu, is getting the vaccine still helpful?
- How effective is the flu vaccine?
Video #3: Flu Prevention & Treatment from a Western & Holistic Medical Perspective
In Video #3 we will address the following topics:
- The basics of cold & flu prevention including hand washing, cleaning surfaces, minimizing high risk activities, the importance of good nutrition, and more.
- Three categories of supplements & herbs for prevention & treatment including: 1. the everyday essentials: supplements that will support your immune system to avoid infection: 2. the specific supplements & herbs to take for the duration of cold & flu season; 3. the specific supplements & herbs to take once you have the flu
- Treating the flu from a Western Medical perspective
- The effectiveness of Tamiflu, when it should be taken, and the risks & side effects.