Health

In shadow of COVID-19, AAP stresses importance of flu vaccination for kids

September 07, 2021

2 min read


Disclosures:
Munoz reports being on a data and safety monitoring board for Moderna and Pfizer, having a research relationship with Gilead Sciences, Moderna and Pfizer, and a being member of the European Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Committee and the International Neonatal and Maternal Immunization Symposium Scientific Committee.


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The AAP on Tuesday released its annual influenza vaccine recommendations, which include some specific COVID-19-related guidance.

The AAP urged that all children in the United States get an influenza vaccine for the upcoming season, “especially now that many children have returned to in-classroom learning.”


Source: Adobe Stock

With many school-aged children ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the AAP says being vaccinated against influenza is more crucial than ever. Source: Adobe Stock

Both the AAP and CDC recommend influenza vaccination for children aged 6 months or older.

Flor Munoz

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to remember that influenza is also a highly contagious respiratory virus that can cause severe illness and even death in children,” Flor Munoz, MD, FAAP, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, said in a statement.

“The flu vaccine is safe, effective, and can be given alongside other routine immunizations and the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Munoz, who served as lead author of the policy statement and an accompanying technical report, developed by the AAP’s Committee on Infectious Diseases.

Among the updates for this year, the AAP noted that all pediatric and adult seasonal influenza vaccines are quadrivalent, with trivalent vaccines “no longer expected to be available in the United States.”

The vaccines this season include new influenza A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) components. The AAP does not prefer one vaccine over any others and continues to recommend both injectable and nasal spray vaccines.

The AAP said influenza vaccines may be administered simultaneously with a COVID-19 vaccine, or any time before or after. The AAP did recommend, however, that children with moderate to serious COVID-19 not receive an influenza vaccine until they recover.

“This year it will be especially important to keep our children healthy, as we’ve seen hospital beds and emergency services fill beyond capacity in communities where transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses remains high,” Munoz said. “This means catching up on all immunizations, including the flu vaccine” — the AAP has previously endorsed giving routine immunizations and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time — and making sure children wash hands frequently, wear masks in school and during indoor group activities, and maintain physical distance from others.”

The AAP has recently ramped up efforts to convince parents to vaccinate eligible children against COVID-19, including through a CDC-backed advertising campaign. A previous AAP campaign portrayed parents who get their children vaccinated as superheroes.

According to the latest AAP tracking, children now account for more than 25% of new SARS-CoV-2 infections in the U.S.

References:

AAP. Pediatrics. 2021;doi:10.1542/peds.2021-053744.

Press release.


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