UNC pediatrician says now is the time to get a flu shot

CHAPEL HILL, NC (WNCN) — While some families are anxiously awaiting the COVID-19 vaccine for younger children, pediatricians say now is the time to get the flu shot.

dr. Martha Perry is chief of pediatrics for UNC’s outpatient clinics and provides quality and safety expertise at UNC Children’s.

COVID-19 boosters may coincide with flu shots this fall, when is the best time to get both?

She says older children and adults can get the flu shot and the COVID-19 shot at the same time, and she expects that will be the case for younger children as well, if and when the vaccine is approved for them.

“I don’t think there’s any reason why they can’t get them together, but since the flu vaccine is now available and it’s unclear when the COVID vaccine will be available for that younger age, I would go ahead and get the flu vaccine now” , she said. said.

Perry says it’s hard to know what to expect from this year’s flu season.

What could this year’s flu season look like with the current spike in respiratory illnesses?

Last year was very mild and she has not seen the flu increase in the Triangle yet, but she has seen other respiratory viruses in children that usually appear in the winter.

“Children get sicker because they have more respiratory viruses at once, including COVID, and that results in a significant respiratory problem as they are hospitalized and need significant oxygen support, while children typically tolerate those viruses without hospitalization,” explains Perry. “The sooner you get the flu vaccine, given the unpredictability of all those viruses, the sooner the better.”

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