The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued updated guidelines for the prevention and control of influenza in pediatric patients.
Routine annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all patients 6 months of age and older who have no medical contraindications. In a new policy statement, the AAP outlined several updates for the 2021-2022 influenza season, including:
- All influenza vaccines in the US are expected to be quadrivalent.
- Egg-based influenza vaccines: Hemagglutinin derived from an influenza A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus, an influenza A/Cambodia/e0826360/2020 (H3N2)-like virus, an influenza B/Washington/02/2019 (Victoria lineage)-like virus, and an influenza B/Phuket/3073/2013 (Yamagata lineage)-like virus.
- Cell culture-based inactivated and recombinant influenza vaccines: Hemagglutinin derived from an influenza A/Wisconsin/588/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus, an influenza A/Cambodia/e0826360/2020 (H3N2)-like virus, an influenza B/Washington/02/2019 (Victoria lineage)-like virus, and an influenza B/Phuket/3073/2013 (Yamagata lineage)-like virus.
- Only Afluria Quadrivalent is available in a 0.25mL prefilled syringe.
- The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Flucelvax Quadrivalent (cell culture-based quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine) for children aged 2 through less than 4 years old.
- Children who need 2 doses of influenza vaccine administered at least 4 weeks apart should receive the first dose as soon as possible to allow for the second dose to be received by the end of October.
- Current guidance indicates that COVID-19 vaccines can be concomitantly given with other vaccines, including influenza vaccines. Clinical considerations regarding COVID-19 vaccination should be periodically reviewed for updated information. The AAP recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all children 12 years of age and older.
- Influenza vaccination should be deferred until recovery from moderate or severe COVID-19; however, those with mild illness may be vaccinated.
In a press release, the AAP also emphasized the importance of vaccinating children in high risk groups without contraindications, as well as pregnant women. Moreover, the organization supports mandatory vaccination for all health care personnel.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to remember that influenza is also a highly contagious respiratory virus that can cause severe illness and even death in children,” said Flor Munoz, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement and technical report, developed by the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. “The flu vaccine is safe, effective, and can be given alongside other routine immunizations and the COVID-19 vaccine.”
American Academy of Pediatrics releases recommendations for prevention of influenza for 2021-22. News release. September 7, 2021. https://www.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2021/american-academy-of-pediatrics-releases-recommendations-for-prevention-of-influenza-for-2021-22/.