Time for kids to get H1N1 boosters




Posted on December 12, 2009 at 12:50 PM

Kiera and Sophie Ohtake are getting H1N1 swine flu vaccine boosters. Little brother, Jake needed his booster as a shot, because he's under 2.

Katterman's Pharmacy is among just a handful of pharmacies that are vaccinating infants as young as six months old. It was a huge draw the first day the supply came in.

"The line stretched from our front door, all the way down the block to the city people's parking lot," said Beverly Schaefer, owner of Katterman's.

"My husband stood in line at about six o'clock in the morning, the first day, and then had to come back the second day 'cause he didn't make the cut the first day," said Katie Ohtake, mother of three children.

Now just a few weeks later, the lines are gone. H1N1 swine flu cases are down too. So should parents bother with vaccines and boosters?

Seattle children's infectious disease expert Dr. Danielle Zerr says absolutely.

"There's certainly the real possibility that we'll see another wave of influenza in the winter, this winter. And it could be seasonal flu which we really haven't seen this year. Or it could be H1N1," she said.

Clinical trials of both vaccines show they're safe and effective. And Dr. Zerr says all kids under 10 will need a swine flu booster.

"In this case the second dose is required because a large portion, of especially the younger children aren't responding to that first dose," said Dr. Zerr.

She says the ideal timing is three to four weeks after the initial vaccine. And to get the best protection, stick with whichever form of the vaccine your child got the first time.

Katie Ohtake says boosters are worth the hassle.

"We just feel strongly that we don't want them to be ill. So we're taking the extra steps to make sure they get their shots," she said.

Health officials say kids only need a seasonal flu booster the first year they get that vaccine.

Kids can get a free H1N1 swine flu vaccine today (Dec. 12) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at Seattle Children's Hospital.

Get more information about the H1N1 swine flu vaccine at the King County Public Health Web site.