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AAP flu guidance the same as last season

March 18, 2021

No changes will be made to the AAP influenza vaccination recommendations for the 2021-’22 season. Either type of available flu vaccine (flu shot or nasal spray) can be given according to their indications.

The Academy is making the announcement now to help inform pediatric practices as they pre-book vaccine orders for the upcoming season. The AAP policy statement on influenza immunization in children will be published later this year in Pediatrics.

Influenza activity has been at a record low this season. As a result, vaccine effectiveness data used to make influenza vaccine recommendations for the next season were unavailable. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will not be finalizing its recommendations until the June 23 meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, it also has indicated that no changes are anticipated.

“It is prudent for the AAP to maintain the current vaccine schedule because we don’t have new data on vaccine effectiveness,” said AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases Chair Yvonne A. Maldonado, M.D., FAAP.

“While COVID-19 mitigation measures appear to have played a major role in the very low numbers of influenza cases this season, every season can be unpredictable and we don’t know what will happen this coming fall and winter. That is why it is still important that everyone receive a flu vaccine every year,” Dr. Maldonado said.

The AAP influenza policy for the 2021-’22 season remains as follows:

  • Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all children 6 months of age and older.
  • Any licensed influenza vaccine appropriate by age and health status can be used for influenza vaccination in children and youths.
  • There is no preference for any influenza vaccine product for children with no contraindications to influenza vaccination and for whom more than one licensed, age-appropriate product is available.

Guidance is being developed to help practices implement the flu vaccine recommendations when COVID-19 vaccines also may be available, according to the AAP.

“We continue to monitor influenza –- and other infectious disease — trends around the world for children on an ongoing basis,” Dr. Maldonado said.

The 2021–’22 U.S. influenza vaccines will include updates to the influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and influenza A(H3N2) components, according to the CDC.

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