After your child receives the flu vaccine, Dr. Germinario says parents may notice some mild side effects such as soreness, redness and tenderness or swelling, a low-grade fever, headache or muscle aches.
Those problems are minor compared to the potential of serious complications`. According to the CDC, the illness kills between 12,000 and 49,000 people and sends more than 700,000 people to the hospital every year. During the 2017-2018 flu season, 185 children died of complications related to the flu.
A 2014 study in “The Journal of Infectious Diseases” showed the flu vaccine reduced a child’s risk of being admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit by 74 percent during the flu seasons of 2010-2012. Dr. Germinario notes that studies have also shown that if people who receive the shot get the illness, it tends to be a much more mild case.
Receiving the vaccine benefits others, too, because it limits the spread of the illness.
“It causes a herd immunity, which is important,” says Dr. Germinario. “The more people who have immunity, the more protection there is against it.”