Children can get two vaccines at the same visit

  • Now that the COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children 5 and older, doctors recommend it and a flu vaccine to reduce their spread through schools.

    Now that the COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children 5 and older, doctors recommend it and a flu vaccine to reduce their spread through schools. Associated Press File Photo

  • Dr. Sean O'Leary

    Dr. Sean O'Leary

 
By Dr. Sean O'Leary
American Academy of Pediatrics
Updated 11/28/2021 9:43 AM

Children ages 5 years and older who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same visit.

If your child is 5 years and older, get their COVID-19 vaccine and annual flu vaccine as soon as possible. You can get both vaccines at the same time, but don't delay either vaccination.

 

Both vaccines are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Your child should get the recommended doses for each vaccine.

All children 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine. Most children will only need one dose of flu vaccine. Your pediatrician can tell you if your child needs two doses of flu vaccine.

Here is more advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Q. Is it possible to be infected by both viruses at once?

A. Yes. Children can be infected by the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. The flu and other viruses have started to spread alongside COVID-19 now that more of us are in school, at work and traveling again.

And we know children infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread the virus -- and catch it from other children and adults. COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu.

By getting both the COVID-19 vaccine and influenza vaccine for your child, you can prevent the spread of these viruses.

During the pandemic when many people stayed home, common viruses like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the flu did not spread as easily. But the year before the pandemic, 199 children died of flu. This year, many respiratory viruses are spreading as people gather unmasked indoors and in large groups.

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Other diseases are coming back because immunization rates have gone down during the pandemic. Vaccine-preventable diseases have seen a resurgence in other parts of the world due to falling vaccination rates, and we are at risk for these diseases in the U.S. because our rates have fallen, too, during the pandemic. This is why it is important to keep your children up to date on their immunizations.

Q. Why are cases of COVID-19 increasing in children?

A. Cases of COVID-19 among children started to go up in summer 2021 when the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus quickly spread across the U.S. The Delta variant is spreading mostly through unvaccinated people, including children.

Children are still getting very sick from the virus, including some who need hospital care. Most children and adolescents who needed to be hospitalized for COVID-19 illness were not vaccinated. Remember

To keep young children and others at high risk of serious illness protected requires careful steps by all of us. That includes getting the vaccine for all eligible children and adolescents who are 5 years of age and older, wearing face masks, physical distancing and screening.

If we all work together to control the spread of the virus, we can keep our communities safe and keep our kids and teachers in the classroom.

• Children's health is a continuing series. This week's article is courtesy of American Academy of Pediatrics. For more information, visit HealthyChildren.org.

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