Experts Push Early Flu Vaccination

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Some of this years injections will protect against four strains of the virus

    (NECN/NBC News: Erika Edwards) - It's the season to begin school, fall sports like football and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it's also the perfect time to start thinking about getting kids their flu vaccine.

    "They're the big distributors of influenza virus to all of us, so the more we get them immunized, we're also protecting ourselves," said Dr. William Schaffner, Vanderbilt University.

    The annual flu vaccine usually protects against three strains of the flu virus. This year, some of the injections will protect against four -- two a-strains, and two b-strains -- that are likely to be circulating this fall.

    "The fourth strain is kind of an effort to try to cover for the situation where the strains that were predicted might be different," said Dr. Michael Brady, Committee on Infectious Diseases, American Academy of Pediatrics.

    In theory, the ability to protect against four strains of the flu sounds better than just three, but there's no data yet to suggest one will end up being more beneficial than the other.

    "What we're a little concerned about is that people will start getting picky and then will avoid getting vaccinated and they'll be susceptible to illness," said Schaffner.

    Picky kids who don't like getting shots do have the option of getting the nasal spray version and parents may be interested to learn all of the flu mist this year will cover all four strains.

    The hope is that a little prevention now will help keep them healthy the rest of the year.

    Pregnant women are also eligible for a shot as the vaccine gives protective antibodies to their babies when they're born.