Furthermore, two-thirds of parents do not believe that getting their child’s flu shot is more important this year, despite advice to the contrary from major government organizations and pediatricians.
“Children under the age of 5, particularly those under the age of 2, are at a high risk of developing serious complications related to influenza,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, adding that they get a flu shot during a pandemic – for all ages – is more important than ever.
“We could see spikes of influenza and COVID-19 at the same time, which could overwhelm the health system, strain testing ability and potentially reduce our ability to effectively capture and treat both respiratory diseases,”
Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease expert, once again stressed the importance of getting a flu shot this year, as he spoke at the CITIZEN by CNN conference on Tuesday.
“You should get it by the end of October,” CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta told the moderator. “If it’s available now, you should download it now.”
“Don’t wait until after October,” he added.
The flu is deadly
Children die from the flu every year: 188 deaths from pediatric flu were reported during the 2019-2020 flu season last year. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, according to the CDC, because many flu deaths go unreported.
For example, the same number of children – 188 – died from influenza in 2017-2018, but based on statistical models, the CDC estimates that 600 children died.
Flu sickness is far more serious than cold sickness, warns the CDC, saying many children need to be hospitalized. Between 7,000 and 26,000 children under 5 are hospitalized each year in the United States for flu-related illnesses.
- Swelling of the brain, called encephalopathy
- Dehydration, where the baby loses too much water and salts, which can even be fatal
- Pneumonia, which kills one child every 39 seconds around the world, according to UNICEF
- Worsen existing medical problems, such as asthma or heart disease
- Increasing incidence of ear infections and sinus problems
“We could see spikes in influenza and COVID-19 at the same time, which could overwhelm the health care system, strain testing capacity and potentially reduce our ability to effectively capture and treat both respiratory diseases,” Clark said.
There were 74,553 new cases of Covid-19 in children between September 3 and 17 – a 15% increase in just over two weeks – for a total of 587,948 cases of coronavirus in children in the United States, the data showed. of the AAP.
Families who did not vaccinate their children against the flu last year were also the least likely to plan to vaccinate their children this year. Those parents have expressed concern about the side effects of the flu shot or said they believe the flu shot is not necessary or effective.
“There’s a lot of misinformation about the flu shot, but it’s the best defense for children against the serious health consequences of flu and the risk of spreading it to others,” Clark said.
By comparison, 96% of parents who got a flu shot for their child in 2019 said they wanted to do the same this year.
“A key challenge for public health officials is how to reach parents who don’t regularly seek seasonal flu vaccination for their children,” he said. “When getting an annual flu shot is not a model, parents need to be prompted to think about why it is essential that their child be vaccinated.”
About 14% of parents said they keep their child away from the doctor’s office due to fear of contracting Covid-19. However, Clark said, most health care workers have safety procedures in place.
“Parents who are concerned about exposure to COVID should contact their child’s provider to find out what types of precautions are being put in place,” he said in the statement.