The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds): Obtaining Flu Vaccine Important in Midst of COVID-19
23 September 2020
Quentin Van Meter, MD, FCP, President
The American College of Pediatricians recommends the use of flu vaccines starting this month for the coming flu season, which will be superimposed on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Simultaneous infections with flu and COVID-19 have happened. There is also a lot of similarity in their symptoms, and both can be deadly, although COVID-19 is generally not as bad for children as flu. The healthcare system has already been overburdened in many parts of the country with the COVID-19 pandemic, so protecting against the flu at this time is especially important. The silver lining regarding flu is that precautions taken to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19 disease) are likely to also reduce the spread of flu.
The flu shot has limitations in efficacy, especially beyond 4 to 6 months after administration, whereas the efficacy of the live attenuated (FluMist®) influenza vaccine (LAIV) may last more than one season.
Flu expert and ACPeds Secretary Dr. Scott Field says, “the LAIV vaccine will be less available this year than the shots, but being a live attenuated vaccine may have a beneficial effect on the innate immune system in reducing the severity of COVID-19. So since flu seasons generally span December through March, getting a flu vaccine before December would be best for protection.”
Having had an unprecedented three heavy flu seasons in a row (heavy seasons usually alternate with light seasons) also makes us overdue for a light flu season. A light flu season has indeed been the experience this summer in the Southern Hemisphere. So take heart, but get your flu vaccine, especially if you have suffered from flu before (those who have had it before are more likely to suffer from it again).
About the American College of Pediatricians
The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is a national medical association of licensed physicians and healthcare professionals who specialize in the care of infants, children, and adolescents. It was founded by a group of concerned physicians who saw the need for a pediatric organization that would not be influenced by the politically driven pronouncements of the day. The mission of the ACPeds is to enable all children to reach their optimal physical and emotional health and well-being. The ACPeds is committed to fulfilling its mission by producing sound policy, based upon the best available research, to assist parents and to influence society in the endeavor of childrearing.