Safe to Give Flu Shot to Children?

By Dr. Jordan Meyers, MD

Yes. It is safe to give children the flu vaccine.

Influenza in normal children is usually self-limited and manageable, but in other children, particularly children under two years of age or children that are immuncompromised, it can be a fatal disease. (They usually average 100 cases each year.)

Richard and Alissa Kantrowitz of Long Island founded Families Fighting the Flu after their 4-and-a-half year old daughter Amanda died of the virus in 2004. They believe that if their daughter had been vaccinated, she would have handled the virus better and probably would be alive today.

The flu season usually extends from November to the end of December. Many parents who refuse the vaccine are under the impression that there may be an association between autism and the vaccine. They believe that, even though there is overwhelming scientific evidence of the absence of this relationship. Other parents feel that the reaction to the vaccine may be worse than the disease.

However, in my experience, which is 50 years of giving the vaccine, most side effects are minor and easily controlled.

In my office at 5322 Avenue N, we consider children less than five years old, but especially less than two years, high risk. There is no question that children with asthma, sickle cell disease and chronic diseases are candidates for flu complications.

We use a quadrivalent influenza vaccine, which is an attenuated vaccine. GlaxoSmithKline 0.5 ml single dose syringe for more than 3 year olds.

The antigenic portion is a subunit of the whole virus and is not viable. We adhere the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics and do not administer any nasal live vaccine.

To learn more about vaccine safety, visit

Dr. Meyers’ practice is Millenium Pediatrics. He is affiliated with Maimonides Medical Center Borough Park, and New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, Park Slope.