Doctors say now is the time to start scheduling your child’s flu shot.
The CDC says 188 children died of the flu during the 2019-2020 season. That’s the highest number of child deaths ever, breaking the record set two years ago.
The CDC says about 80 percent of flu-related deaths in children were in kids who had not been fully vaccinated against the virus.
Dr. Patrick Gavigan, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Penn State Health, agrees, saying the vast majority of fatalities happened in kids who weren’t vaccinated. He says while the flu shot isn’t 100 percent effective, if your child does get the flu, they’re likely to have a less severe case if they got the shot.
With COVID-19 also affected the world, Gavigan says parents shouldn’t hesitate to get their kids vaccinated.
“If there’s a big flu season on top of that it’s going to stress the health system even more. People who get the flu – if there’s a lot of resources being used to manage COVID-19, then there’s going to be fewer resources for trying to manage each person with influenza.”
Dr. Gavigan says all kids should aim to be vaccinated by the end of October at the latest. Kids who are receiving their first-ever flu vaccine will need two shots, so those parents especially should not wait to reach out to their pediatrician.