By: Peacock, Georgina
Dr. Georgina Peacock, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, stresses the need for all children ages six months and older, especially those with special needs, to receive the flu vaccine. It also is important for children with special needs to receive the antiviral drugs oseltamivir or zanamivir as soon as they show symptoms of the flu. This comes as a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that during the 2011-2012 influenza season, just 50 percent of parents of special-needs children planned to have or actually had their child vaccinated, despite the risk for serious complications and death from flu among these children. According to a survey of the parents of more than 1,000 high-risk children older than six months by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, most said they do not vaccinate their children against the flu because they cannot get to their healthcare provider or are concerned about vaccine safety, effectiveness, or adverse reactions.