See your pediatrician for influenza vaccine during COVID-19 pandemic
by Trisha Korioth, Staff Writer
Make sure your child gets an influenza vaccine, ideally by the end of October. This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says all children 6 months and older should get a flu shot each year.
Influenza and COVID-19 will be spreading this fall and winter. They have similar symptoms, so it can be hard to tell them apart.
Both can cause no symptoms or an illness with mild to severe symptoms. Influenza symptoms show up about one to four days (two days on average) after being exposed to a sick person. COVID-19 symptoms appear about two to 14 days (five days on average) after being exposed to a sick person.
It appears more likely that otherwise healthy children get serious illness from the flu than from COVID-19, especially if they did not get a flu shot.
The best place to get a flu shot is your pediatrician’s office. During the visit, your child can get vaccinations required for school and other care that was delayed due to the pandemic.
There is a flu shot and a nasal spray vaccine. The flu shot can be given to otherwise healthy children and children with underlying medical conditions, starting at 6 months of age. The nasal spray vaccine can be given to healthy children who are at least 2 years old.
The AAP recommends:
- Children 6 months through 8 years of age getting the vaccine for the first time need two doses, at least four weeks apart. Children ages 9 and older get only one dose.
- Children who have recovered from COVID-19 can get influenza vaccine after symptoms go away, if they have not already been vaccinated.
- Children with a stuffy nose should wait until their nose is not blocked before getting the nasal spray vaccine.
- Children with egg allergy of any severity can get a flu shot without additional precautions beyond those recommended for any vaccine.
- Children who had allergic reactions to prior influenza vaccines should not be vaccinated until they see an allergist.