Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How Long Do I Have To Wait In Between Flu Shots?

There has been some confusion (including me!) about how long to wait between flu shots. We reviewed the MMWR/CDC guidelines and contacted the State Health Department to confirm the rules. Here they are:

1. You should wait 28 days after a LIVE vaccine (FluMist seasonal, Nasal H1N1, MMR or Varicella vaccines) to receive another LIVE vaccine.

2. You can give INACTIVATED VACCINES (injectable seasonal flu vaccine, injectable H1N1 vaccine, all other common childhood vaccines except MMR and Varicella) anytime after a LIVE vaccine.

3. You can give LIVE vaccines any time after an INACTIVATED vaccine.

4. WE CANNOT GIVE BOTH NASAL SEASONAL FLU AND NASAL H1N1 AT THE SAME VISIT. There is insufficient data to show whether or not they are effective when administered together.

So..... it may be a little tricky to get both seasonal flu and H1N1 flu for your kids in a timely manner, if they are 2 years or older and are getting nasal vaccines. We are hoping to get more injectable vaccine for both seasonal and H1N1, which would give us more options.

SO WHAT DO I RECOMMEND? If your child (2 years or older) has not had any flu shots yet, I would prioritize getting the H1N1 vaccine first, since that is at epidemic levels right now. ( Our other doctors might have a different opinion on this, so feel free to ask them.) We hope to have nasal H1N1 vaccine within the next two weeks in the office. We do have nasal seasonal flu vaccine right now, and should be getting some more injectable seasonal flu vaccine in the next few days. There is no seasonal flu activity yet in our area. It is hard to say when it will start, but it often starts after the Thanksgiving holiday.