Should Children Get Swine Flu Vaccines?

The swine flu vaccine is slowly making its way into area clinics and hospitals. Healthcare workers are among the first to receive the vaccine. But children will soon be able to get it as well — as they are one of the more vulnerable populations. Laurie Johnson reports.

Children and young people under the age of 25 are among the groups that are recommended to get the vaccine first.

At Dr. Laurie McKillip's pediatric clinic in The Woodlands the phones are ringing non-stop.

"Every single phone call people ask, yes. Probably one every five minutes. They're asking if we will be giving the vaccine and when it will be available."

The CDC recommends all children get the vaccine. And McKillip says children with serious illnesses should definitely receive it. But she leaves it up to parents to decide whether to vaccinate otherwise healthy children.

"A lot of the questions are technology — they're afraid of new technology, they're afraid the vaccine hasn't been tested for safety. If your child has asthma or heart disease or an immunodeficiency I'd probably really encourage you to do it. But for a healthy child, I think that's your choice."

The vaccine for children requires two doses, whether in nasal spray or injection form.

McKillip says she expects to see a lot of kids show up with flu-like symptoms. But she believes the vast majority of those cases will be mild.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...