Children May Need a Second Round of Flu Vaccine

December 8, 2004 – Posted at 5:19 p.m. CST

JONESBORO – if you're child received a flu shot this year and is under the age of nine, it may be time for another round. Region 8 doctors haven't seen very many kids suffering from the flu. That because this year's flu season has been light, so far.

Pediatrician Dr. Ryan Harvey said, "Flu season for Arkansas tends to be more January, February and March." Which means now is still a good time to get a flu shot. This is especially true for some children because they may need more than one.

"If a patient has not had a flu vaccine before and they're under the age of nine they'll need a second one. The shots are spaced one month apart," said Dr. Harvey.

With the well-publicized vaccine shortage, you may ask why these kids who have never had a shot before, need a second go around.

"Children are smaller so they get half," said Dr. Harvey, "They get half at the beginning with the first shot and then the second half one month later with the 2nd shot."

Dr. Harvey says the flu vaccine supply has been pretty good in Northeast Arkansas. Most clinics and health departments have enough vaccine for second dose. But shots are still not available on a first come first serve basis.

"They are prioritizing children less than two years of age and children that are chronically ill," said Dr. Harvey.

Children between the ages of five and nine can use Flu Mist as their second dose. For kids over the age one nine, two doses are not necessary; doctors say one will do.

Even though the Federal Government has arranged to buy flu vaccine from other countries, Arkansas is not in line to get any of the new supply. Officials say that the vaccine will be given to areas with the most need, and Arkansas has not been able to meet high-risk needs.