American Academy of Family Physicians Recommends Influenza Vaccinations for Children Aged 6-23 Months
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 30, 2004
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5222
According to Michael Fleming, M.D., president of the AAFP and family physician in Shreveport, La., the previous recommendation stated that the influenza vaccine should be given to children aged 6-23 months "when feasible."
"We have now strengthened our recommendation to make it a routine practice to immunize children aged 6-23 months against influenza," Fleming said. "It is important for parents to take the initiative to bring their children to the doctor's office for vaccines in the fall, prior to the onset of the influenza season."
Infection with influenza viruses can result in illness ranging from mild to severe and life-threatening complications. The influenza season typically begins in early fall, but in 2003 the virus began circulating the United States unusually early. More than 40 deaths among children under the age of 18 were reported.
An estimated 10 percent to 20 percent of U.S. residents get influenza each year: an average of 114,000 people are hospitalized for influenza-related complications and 36,000 Americans die each year from complications of influenza. By far, the single best way to prevent influenza is for individuals, especially people at high risk for serious complications from influenza, such as those with chronic disorders, to get a vaccination each fall.
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.