The flu vaccination has not yet caught on among the families of children in Castellón. In total according to data from the Ministry of Health 5,390 children under 5 years of age have received the preventive measure so far, which represents less than 20% of the child population of that age. Of those vaccinated in Castellón, 2,101 are between six and 23 months old and another 3,289 between 24 and 59 months.
Who is it indicated for?
Mario Ferrer, pediatrician specializing in pulmonology at Castellón General Hospitalexplains that the flu shot is recommended for the entire pediatric population that has risk factors but this year, for the first time, also for minors between 6 months and five years without risk pathology. “It was a request from pediatricians and we always recommended the vaccine, since the younger they are, the easier it is for the flu to become complicated and their health condition worsen.” It is also indicated from the age of 5 and up to the age of 18 when they have an underlying illness that could be aggravated by this type of infection. In these cases, health centers are calling families to tell them about the vaccine and make an appointment.
Ferrer adds that “the flu is an infectious pathology, which affects between 30 and 40% of children.” Furthermore, he explains, children are a focus of contagion which is then taken to homes and families. «Therefore, the vaccine is a protection for the little ones in the first instance and for the entire family, especially if you live with elderly or at-risk people,” says this General expert.
Along the same lines, Bárbara del Mazo, member of Urban Primary Care of the Castellón College of Physicians, explains that “children are the main vector of transmission. It is a disease that is highly contagious. And the vaccine is the most effective way to prevent it. Most cases of flu occur with mild symptomssuch as fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, but sometimes it can get complicated with respiratory distress or pneumonia, for example,” adds this doctor.
Both experts point out that the flu vaccines have been shown to be very safe. The main adverse effects, both in children and adults, are at a local level: in the case of the nasal, itchy nose, mild rhinorrhea, and in the case of the injected: redness and pain in the injection area are the most frequent. .
«His possible Side effects are usually mild and can be treated on an outpatient basis.. Erythema on the skin or a few tenths of fever may appear, but they tend to disappear after 24-48 hours without further consequences,” explains Ferrer.
Ferrer explains that in the current campaign, for the first time an attenuated intranasal vaccine is being used here in children between 2 and 4 years old, which offers greater protection against influenza virus infection, is easier to administer and less aggressive in avoiding the puncture. “The intranasal vaccine is effective and safe,” says Bárbara del Mazo.
This doctor remembers that the official recommendations are for boys and girls, healthy or not, between 6 and 59 months. It is also recommended for adults over that age with risk factors; for example, asthma and bronchial hyperreactivity, celiac disease or premature babies. “I would also indicate that children under six months of age are especially vulnerable, that we cannot vaccinate them, but we can protect them by vaccinating all their cohabitants,” says Del Mazo.
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