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Does the Seasonal Flu Shot Protect Against H1N1 Flu?

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD

My kids have received their yearly flu shot. Does it protect them against the H1N1 flu virus?

If your kids get the seasonal flu vaccine during the 2010-2011 season (beginning fall 2010), they are protected against H1N1 flu. That's because this year’s flu shot includes the H1N1 vaccine and protects against the H1N1 flu virus. If your kids were vaccinated during the 2009-2010 flu season, they would have needed two separate flu vaccines: the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine.

Because the flu virus changes from year to year, children need to be vaccinated every flu season. 

Flu shots are offered as a shot (injected through the skin) or as a spray mist (into the nasal cavity). Children younger than 9 years need two doses of the vaccine 1 month apart if they have never had a flu shot or did not get the H1N1 vaccine during the 2009-2010 flu season. Older kids and teens need only one dose. Side effects may include soreness or swelling at the site of the injection or mild side effects, such as headache or low-grade fever.

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Although we can't reply personally, you may see your question posted to this page in the future. If you're looking for medical advice, a diagnosis, or treatment, consult your doctor or other qualified medical professional. If this is an emergency, contact emergency services in your area.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: July 2010