We now have in stock a good supply of injectable flu vaccines for the 2023 – 24 season. For this season, we are happy to announce once again that we are able to provide the preservative-free, expanded-protection quadrivalent flu vaccine (see details below). Due to uncertainties in the flu vaccine supply this year, we would advise bringing your child in early in the season to ensure availability. For this year, we will not be able to offer the FluMist nasal spray, due to a history of significant delays in production and shipment from the manufacturer.
Our office will be once again offer flu vaccines both in a drive-through manner in the main parking of our building (on Watchung Ave) on scheduled Saturdays from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, to limit the number of patients physically entering our office and in-office flu vaccine for families who prefer, who are not infected or have been exposed to COVID-19 on scheduled Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm as well as during your child’s annual well visit and sick visit if medically appropriate.
In addition to vaccinating children, as always, our office will be able to offer the flu vaccine to adult household members of the family as well, including pregnant women, grandparents, babysitters, and anyone else who wants to protect themselves and the children they contact from the flu. The best way to keep the flu from spreading around a family or a community is to vaccinate as many people as possible each season.
Please contact the office at 973-665-0900 if you are interested in scheduling your children (or yourselves) to receive the flu vaccine. We have both weekday and weekend times available.
Flu Vaccine Q&A:
Q: Should my child receive a flu vaccine this year?
A: The Center for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and our pediatricians do recommend that all people 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated against the flu every fall. This advice is especially important for children at high risk for influenza complications, such as children below age 5, and any child with a chronic medical condition, such as asthma or diabetes. It is also especially important for household contacts of newborn babies to be vaccinated, since these babies are too young to be vaccinated themselves.
Q: How does COVID-19 affect my child’s flu shot this year?
A: Due to COVID-19, it is more important than ever to get your child (and yourself) a flu shot. The flu shot will not offer protection against COVID-19; however, by reducing your chances of getting the flu, the flu shot will also therefore lower your chances of developing a fever illness this winter, which would likely prompt the need for quarantine and possible COVID testing. By reducing the number of patients getting sick with influenza, we will all do our part to reduce the expected strain on our health care system this winter.
Q: Will the flu vaccine protocol be different at Touchpoint this year due to COVID-19?
A: Yes. Due to COVID-19, our office will be administering a majority of the flu vaccines in a drive-through manner in the parking lot on the side of our building (on Watchung Avenue), in order to limit the number of patients needing to physically come into our office at this time. We will also offer the option of in-office flu vaccine for families who prefer who are not infected or have been exposed to COVID-19 as well as during your child’s annual well visit and sick visit if medically appropriate.
Q: What if my child is allergic to eggs?
A: In the past, since the influenza vaccine is grown in eggs, it was believed that people with egg allergies had to be cautious when receiving the vaccine. However, extensive recent studies have shown that the flu vaccine is extremely safe to receive, even for people with severe egg allergies. Their risk of a significant reaction from the flu vaccine is no greater than that from any other vaccine. Therefore, it is recommended that even people with severe egg allergies may receive the flu vaccine just like anyone else, without any special concerns or precautions.
Q: Is it possible to get the flu from the flu vaccine?
A: No. The side effects from the flu shot, if any, are generally mild soreness at the site of injection, and occasionally mild fever for a day or two.
Q: Does the flu vaccine contain the preservative thimerosal?
A: No, all the formulations of flu vaccines that we have in our office are thimerosal-free.
Q: Does my child need one dose or two doses of the flu vaccine this year?
A: Most children will only need one dose of flu vaccine this season, but some children will need two doses to be fully protected. Children 9 years of age or older will only need one dose. Children under age 9 who have not already received at least two doses of flu vaccine in previous years will need two doses this year, at least four weeks apart. If you have questions about your child’s specific needs, please contact our office.
Q: What about Tamiflu?
A: It is better to get the flu vaccine than to get the flu. If you do get the flu, and the flu test done in our office is positive, the doctor may discuss Tamiflu with you. Tamiflu is an antiviral medicine, not an antibiotic. It does not cure the flu, but if started within the first 48 hours of the flu, it may decrease the severity and duration of illness, as well as decrease contagiousness. It can also be given to close exposures of people with flu (other household members) to reduce the chance of illness. It is strongly recommended for those with very severe flu symptoms (such as patients sick enough to be hospitalized), as well as those with significant underlying medical conditions. However, there are possible adverse effects from Tamiflu such as GI distress, headaches, abdominal discomfort, and even hallucinations/delirium. If you are considering asking for Tamiflu, please discuss with one of our physicians. We will not prescribe Tamiflu without seeing a patient or having documentation of flu in a close family member.