Influenza vaccination extended to children aged 6 months to 5 years across Spain this autumn

So far, the Ministry of Health recommends flu vaccinations for premature and high-risk children. But last October, it approved the systematic vaccination of children aged 6 to 59 months during the 2023-2024 season.

Andalusia, such as Galicia and Murcia, started vaccinating minors in this age group last year. The vaccine will be rolled out nationwide this fall following recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organizations, which recommend flu shots to children over age 6 as the most effective form of protection against the flu. Children younger than 59 months should be considered a priority for vaccination against this disease, even if they have no risk status.

Parents, however, are the final callers and the ones who decide whether or not their children get vaccinated.

Reasons for expanding age groups

As detailed in the Ministry of Health’s report supporting the recommendation to vaccinate children over six months of age against influenza, the respiratory infection caused by viruses of the influenza genus leads to a substantial increase in the number of hospitalizations each year. 19-104 per 10,000 children), medical visits (6-15 per 100 children), and antibiotic use in healthy children (3-9 cycles of antibiotics per 100 children).

Although its fatality rate for children under the age of 15 is negligible, the data confirm that 95% of those who die are under the age of 5.

Additionally, children under this age group have the second highest rate of hospitalizations and ICU admissions, with an estimated nearly 50,000 primary care confirmed influenza cases, 4,000 hospitalizations (800 critical), 250 ICU admissions and 8 in-hospital deaths each year Occurs in boys and girls under 5 years of age. In addition, health authorities have confirmed that the mortality rate from influenza is disproportionately high, with an average of 28 deaths per season among children aged 0 to 5 years.

The most common complications of influenza in children are mainly respiratory, such as bronchial obstruction, pneumonia, and acute otitis media; in addition, there are other less common consequences, such as encephalitis or myocarditis, but may be serious and leave sequelae.

flu vaccine for children

Vaccines for children in Spain include the inactivated quadrivalent Vaxigrip Tetra, Influvac Tetra, Fluarix Tetra (for infants older than 6 months) and Flucelvax Tetra (for children older than 2 years), and a live attenuated vaccine, Fluenz Tetra, intranasally (2 to 17 years).

The formula contains three or four types of influenza viruses (two types A and one or two types B). The viruses were selected based on their probability of transmission each season, according to the World Health Organization’s annual estimates.

According to Health, “the flu vaccine is very safe,” and adverse reactions are rare and include local reactions at the injection site (pain, redness, and swelling), headache, muscle discomfort, fever, or tiredness.


From 6 months to 8 years, two doses are recommended, at least 4 weeks apart, and only one prick is required if at least two doses have been previously administered. And from 9 years of age, single dose.

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