Amid the coronavirus pandemic, a group of pediatricians is urging children to be vaccinated for the flu, sooner than you might think. The combination of COVID-19 and the flu could be a dangerous combination.
"The concern at this point is that having two infections in the same person could cause potentially significant injury to their lungs," said Dr. Flor Munoz.
In an updated policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children six months or older, who are medically able, should be vaccinated against the flu by the end of October.
"It's not an immediate protection," said Dr. Munoz. "The sooner the vaccine is given, the more likely it is that when the flu starts circulating, you'll be protected."
Dr. Munoz is the lead author of the recommendations. She says flu-fighting antibodies will wane by getting the vaccine early, but she says you'll also be protected early and this will carry you through the flu season.
The flu season typically peaks between December and February but could start as early as October. Munoz says based on previous seasons, children will play a pivotal role in spreading the flu and early vaccination is also important because of the many COVID question marks.
"This virus will potentially stay and cause outbreaks in certain places that might make it difficult to have access to care and to have access to a flu vaccine," said Dr. Munoz.
The CDC says each year, millions of children get sick with seasonal flu and thousands are hospitalized. The agency says about 80 percent of flu-related pediatric deaths reported during the 2019-2020 season were in children who had not been fully vaccinated against the flu.