Flu vaccination during COVID: Why and when should your child get it?

BY Dr. Anil Kumar Reddy T, MBBS, MD Published on October 22, 2021

While corona vaccination trials for children are still ongoing, maintaining their wellbeing is the highest priority for parents during these trying times. Flu shots are vital for children since the flu and the COVID-19 virus trigger similar symptoms such as fever, cold, and cough. Doctors advise that flu shots may diminish symptoms that may be misdiagnosed with those associated with COVID-19. In addition, protecting children from flu and minimizing the intensity of flu illness may reduce parental stress. Protecting children against illnesses is critical in the formative years since it can impact their growth and development.

The greatest way to combat flu in children is with a flu shot; it is incredibly beneficial during the change of seasons and is an essential prerequisite as the rainy season approaches. According to WHO, CDC, AAP, and IAP guidelines, any child over the age of 6 months is qualified for a flu shot and must be administered two doses separated by one month if it's the first visit. The doctor recommends that a 4-week interval be kept between the two immunizations so that the child has enough time for antigens to form and tolerance against various types of viral diseases.

As a result, a flu vaccine (single dose) can be administered every year. Some parents are concerned about the flu shot's adverse effects, which are really minor. A kid may suffer a minor fever or slight soreness at the incision area, usually on the lateral aspect of the forearm, which will go away in a day or two. Flu vaccines are modified each season to reflect changes in the virus (Antigen drift and Antigen shift). However, the flu vaccine does not provide protection against covid-19 infections. It can reduce the chance of catching the flu and keep children from being hospitalized. Any child with any type of allergy can receive flu shots.

 Some of the most common flu shot side effects.

Parents should be aware that the flu vaccine has mild symptoms and that the side effects are the same for adults, children, and newborns. In addition, because the flu vaccine is prepared with an inactivated (dead) flu virus, it cannot infect you. Even so, modest adverse effects of the flu vaccination can occur in both infants and adults, including:

  • Body aches
  • Headache.
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting in rare cases
  • Developing fever after the flu vaccination: Parents should keep an eye on their children if they have a fever of 101°F (38°C) or less, as this is a normal side effect of the flu vaccination and usually goes away within a day or two.
  • Reaction at the spot of the flu injections: The most common flu shot adverse effect is soreness at the injection site. Following the injection, parents should check to see whether their children have discomfort, redness, warmth, or, in some circumstances, little swelling at the injection site. The adverse effects typically subside in less than two days.
Difference between Flu vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine

The flu injection is not the same as the Covid-19 vaccine. Both of these vaccinations fulfill distinct functions. Findings demonstrate, however, that the flu vaccine may have a preventative impact on the evolution of Covid-19 infection and symptoms in children. If kids are given regular immunization during the existing flu season, they are less likely to acquire symptomatic and severe infections.

Why is it vital to get a flu shot this season?

Considering SARS-CoV-2 and influenza have essentially identical behavioral and clinical traits, the flu season is already expected to be chaotic. This is referred to as a "twindemic" or "syndemic." It is now well understood that earlier infection or vaccination with another (related or unrelated) virus in the same recipient can suppress the growth of one virus via mediators such as interferons and others. Virus interference is the name given to this phenomenon.

Statistics suggest that the flu vaccine, through "viral intervention," may keep you protected from the virus and stimulate a general immune response. This indicates that people who have received a flu vaccine may be less prone to get Coronavirus. The flu vaccination is safe for children since professionals have thoroughly studied it, and even if there are any side effects, they are often minor. Mild fever or other side effects are merely signs that the vaccine functions and protects the body from the flu. Until the Covid-19 vaccine is authorized for children under the age of eighteen, a flu vaccine is a safe alternative for children. The flu vaccination is an excellent strategy for protecting your child from the flu and lowering their susceptibility to Coronavirus.

The Bottom Line

With the third wave approaching, health officials are working hard to educate families about the flu shot for their kids under the age of eighteen. This can, after all, guarantee that the children are safeguarded against Covid-19 to some extent. However, parents should not be apathetic when it comes to getting their kids immunized. So, with a simple flu vaccine, you can protect your children from Coronavirus and decrease the strain on the national healthcare system! The flu vaccine may cause modest side effects, but the benefits far exceed the risks.

Author

Dr. Anil Kumar Reddy T, MBBS, MD

Pediatrics

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