Flu shots for kids extra important this year amid COVID-19 pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Fighting the flu this fall is even more of a priority for 2020 when it's coupled with the coronavirus pandemic.

That's why pediatricians are reminding parents, even if your child is doing virtual learning at home, they should still get vaccinated. Just because kids are learning remotely, doesn't mean influenza is moving remotely.

"It is also still out in the community. It's not just in the schools, it's in the stores, at parks, and individuals around you," said Dr. Frank Esper from the Cleveland Clinic.

Getting a flu shot is one of the best ways to protect yourself from suffering flu complications. It can also help avoid overwhelming hospitals, especially if there is another surge in COVID-19 cases locally.

Countries in the Southern Hemisphere, where flu season starts, are reporting a mild season. Precautions to protect against coronavirus can also help protect against the flu.

But the virus is unpredictable, so we don't know how it will affect us here yet.

Kids under the age of two are most at risk, but it can infect healthy kids at any age and sometimes lead to serious complications.

As for how effective this year's vaccine will be, only time will tell, but regardless it's better to have some protection than none at all.

"If you get the vaccine, you're much less likely to get hospitalized. And so while it may not prevent you from getting the flu, it does prevent you from ending up needing oxygen, from ending up being hospitalized or even more so, going into the intensive care unit," said Dr. Esper.

The flu vaccine is recommended for kids ages 6-months and older. And on a community level, the more people we have vaccinated, the better protection for everyone. The same goes for when we have an approved vaccine against COVID-19.
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