As we get closer to fall, we’re reminded that there’s another respiratory virus about to hit in addition to COVID-19 – influenza. And, once again, it’s more important than ever that you and your family get influenza vaccines this year.
Influenza, commonly called the flu, is a respiratory virus similar to COVID-19. And, just like COVID-19, the vaccine is the best way to prevent getting sick. If you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, we highly recommend getting it along with the influenza vaccine — which are proven to be both safe and effective! It’s important to receive these vaccinations, if eligible, because it is possible to get flu (and other respiratory illnesses) and COVID-19 at the same time.
Did you know? Getting a flu shot can reduce a child’s risk for being hospitalized with complications related to influenza by 74%, according to Joe Kurland, vaccine specialist and infection preventionist at Children’s Minnesota.
How can my child get their flu and COVID-19 immunizations?
If you have an appointment at one of our primary care clinics, your child can now get their COVID-19 vaccine (for those ages 12 years and up), at the same time that they get their influenza vaccines.
Who should get a flu shot
Everyone older than 6 months old should get a flu shot every year — even pregnant women. Kids ages 8 and younger who are getting the flu shot for the first time need two doses, given a month apart — so it’s important to get your flu shots early.
Because the influenza virus changes, experts update the vaccine to make it effective against the current strains spreading through the community. While the vaccine isn’t 100% effective at preventing symptoms of the flu, it can limit the how severe your symptoms are and how long the infection lasts.
When should I get a flu shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you get your flu shot in September or October. Ideally, everyone should have their influenza vaccine by the end of October so you can be protected by the time peak flu season hits. But remember: it’s never too late to get a flu shot! We recommend getting vaccinated no matter how late in the season it is.
Why are vaccines important?
Skipping the flu shot is a bigger risk this season as we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the delta variant continues to spread.
Influenza vaccinations are especially important for kids who are under the age 12 who cannot get the COVID-19 vaccine, because without the flu shot, they risk getting both respiratory illnesses.
To keep kids safe and healthy, parents should not delay any childhood vaccinations. Through vaccines, parents have the power to protect kids against serious diseases like influenza, measles, whooping cough and cancers caused by HPV.
Vaccines don’t just keep you safe — they protect everyone you come in contact with, including those who cannot be vaccinated. Get your flu shot now for the upcoming flu season!