Feds Target Kids for Flu Shots

Vaccines for young germ-spreaders may curb effect on broader population
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2008 2:12 PM CDT
With the germ-spreading capability of children well documented, officials think vaccinating them against the flu will reduce cases in the US population as a whole.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Kids are the focus of flu vaccination efforts this year in an unprecedented push to lower the overall number of US infections, the Los Angeles Times reports. Children get the flu more often than adults, and research suggests they are biologically more effective at spreading it; for the first time, federal guidelines recommend individuals between 6 months and 18 years old get the vaccine.

Flu efforts have expanded from a focus on the elderly to preventing the spread of the disease among children. "This is the concept of herd immunity," explains a pediatrics expert. "The more people you vaccinate, the less likely you are to see infection in people who are not vaccinated."