American Academy of Pediatrics: Kids should still get flu shots during COVID-19 pandemic

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released its recommendations for flu shots for the upcoming flu season, which will coincide once again with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

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The AAP suggests that all children age 6 months and older who can get a flu shot, get the vaccine, especially if they have an underlying medical condition that makes them at high risk of complications from the flu. If a child between 6 months and 8 years old has never gotten the vaccine, they should get it as soon as possible and they should get two doses, spaced four weeks apart, with the second done before the end of October. If a child is 9 years old or older or has received two doses over the years before July 1, then they only need one dose, according to the AAP’s suggestions.

See the dosing suggestions below or click here.

The AAP said the flu shot can be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine or before or after, but if a child has a moderate or severe case of COVID-1,9 the shot should be delayed until the child has recovered. A child with a mild case of COVID-19 can receive the flu vaccine, the AAP said.

If both COVID-19 and the flu vaccines are given on the same day, the CDC said they may be given in separate arms to reduce pain and swelling, NPR reported.

The AAP also suggests that pregnant women get the flu vaccine since the infant will get antibodies from their mother. The AAP said that women who have given birth but had not yet gotten the vaccine can safely get the shot.

This year’s batch of flu vaccines protects against four different strains.

There can be some allergic reaction to the shot. If a child had a reaction to a previous flu vaccine, the AAP suggests that the child be evaluated by an allergist to see if they can get the shot safely in the future.

Click here and scroll down to “Table 3″ for more on potential reactions.

As for adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that they should get the vaccine between now and the end of October.

Keep in mind that despite getting the flu vaccine, it may not be 100% effective against all strains. But if you do get the shot and end up developing the flu, it can lessen the severity of the illness, NPR reported.

It also takes about two weeks to become fully effective, so it is best to get the shot before the flu spreads, the CDC said.

Finally, if you do get the flu shot, and already have, or will be getting the COVID-19 vaccine, continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask and wash your hands to protect further against the flu and COVID-19, Dr. Andrew Pavia, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Utah Health, told NPR.

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