Why kids need flu vaccines, even if they’re learning online

A doctor tells us why it’s especially important for kids to get a flu vaccine during the coronavirus pandemic – even if they’re not attending school in person.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — With flu season fast approaching, doctors want to make sure kids are vaccinated, especially since we’re also dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

If your little ones are learning remotely, you might think a flu shot isn’t necessary this year – but that’s not the case.

“Just because your child is learning remotely doesn’t mean influenza is moving remotely. It is still out in the community. It’s not just in the schools,” said Frank Esper, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s.  “It’s in stores, at parks and individuals around you. So, we still expect influenza to move from person-to-person and place-to-place.”

Getting a flu shot is especially important to help reduce the number of hospitalizations

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Fauci: Coronavirus-Driven Public Health Measures Needed to Make Flu Season Less Severe

Public-health initiatives like mask-wearing and social distancing that have been shown to successfully limit the spread of the novel coronavirus might also play an important role in suppressing the severity of the upcoming flu season, according to White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“Steps to fight the flu and COVID-19 overlap greatly,” he said during a virtual briefing on Thursday. “We don’t want those two diseases together.”

Fauci warned that the nation’s health-care system might soon be confronted with a “diagnostic challenge” if there is, in fact, a devastating one-two punch of the seasonal flu plus the coronavirus.

“There’s considerable concern as we enter the fall and the winter months and into the flu season that we’ll have that dreaded overlap of two respiratory diseases, namely influenza and COVID-19,” said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In the United States, on average, between nine

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Flu could strain health system already burdened by COVID-19

But Vasudevan and others fear there could be fewer people seeking vaccinations this year as more people are skipping routine care. Even in a normal year, only half of the adult population gets a flu vaccine. During the 2018-19 season, around 45 percent of adults got flu shots, according to the CDC. A year earlier, it was just 39 percent.

Many employees get their flu shot at their work offices. But this year with more people working from home, it creates one more potential step that could get in the way of being vaccinated.

Mark McClellan, a former head of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said that more distribution methods will be needed in order for flu vaccine rates to go up. He said that this year’s flu vaccination campaign will also be an important test of how effectively the U.S. can

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