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The number of vaccines recommended for infants can be overwhelming to new parents, especially since they start at birth. But getting a flu shot is perfectly safe for babies 6 months and older. In fact, research shows that the risks associated with a baby contracting the flu are far worse than any side effects that may occur as a result of the shot. Babies who catch the flu get pneumonia at higher rates than older children and can become dehydrated more easily. Many end up hospitalized as a result. Although flu-related deaths are very rare, a small number of children each year do die from flu complications. So you should definitely have your baby vaccinated. If you're worried about thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) in flu shots, allow us to set the record straight on this controversial issue. First, many flu shots no longer contain thimerosal, so ask your pediatrician about mercury-free vaccines. What's more, study after study continues to disprove any link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism in children.
Originally published in the October 2006 issue of Child magazine.
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.