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Quick Guide to Flu Shots at Advanced Pediatrics 2020-2021

By Dr. Arthur Lavin

Readers interested in a more detailed discussion of the influenza virus and flu shots should go to our recent post on these topics.

This post will offer simply the key points all families in our practice, Advanced Pediatrics, should know as we approach getting ready for the December-May influenza virus epidemics in this age of COVID-19.

Quick Background

  • The flu shot only protects against infection from one species of virus, the influenza virus, which is only present in our community from mid-December to early May every year.
  • In a typical year, the influenza virus causes about 1/3 of viral colds and flus from December to May, so the flu shot will not protect against the other 2/3.
  • In the age of COVID, protecting against this third of colds and flus could turn out to be very, very important.  Fewer fevers means fewer worries that your family has COVID-19.  And, we simply do not know, it is very possible that having the influenza virus in you could make your risk of getting sick from COVID-19 much worse.
  • The CDC has extended the time period that flu shots work best.  Each year’s flu shot fades in impact over many months, so we have leaned toward October and November but given the presence of a looming COVID-19, and COVID-19-Influenza threat, we are opening up administration in September

The Advanced Pediatrics Flu Shot Process for 2020-2021

  • Flu shots will be offered to children and adolescents in Advanced Pediatrics starting Tuesday, September 8, 2020.
  • Appointments for flu shots will be offered starting on Tuesday, September 8, 2020
  • Flu shot appointments will be offered in limited numbers each weekday morning as we move seeing children and adolescents with illnesses to the afternoon.
  • As the flu shots will be made available as the office receives shipments of the flu shots, there will be times when supplies run low, and appointments will be not be started again until the next shipment arrives.

Ages for the Flu Shot

  • Flu shots are recommended for essentially everyone ages 6 months and older.
  • If in any prior year in your child’s life they received a flu shot, then only one flu shot for this fall, winter and spring of 2020-2021 is needed.
  • If your child is 8 years old or younger when receiving their first flu shot this year, then they will need a second one month or more later to be fully protected.

BOTTOM LINES

  1. This year, a year of serious pandemic, Advanced Pediatrics will not be holding its annual Flu Fest
  2. Instead, flu shots are being recommended to be obtained as early as September
  3. The practice will give flu shots on weekday mornings, starting September 8, 2020.
  4. The office will make these appointments available starting on September 8, while supplies remain, and will resume offering flu shots as our shipments arrive.
  5. Flu shots will be more important this year given the possibilities that a combination influenza infection and COVID-19 illness cause more harm than just the influenza.
  6. Flu shots need to be given yearly, starting at age 6 months old.
  7. Anyone who has had a flu shot in a prior year, or is 9 years old, or older this fall, needs only one flu shot.  If 8 years old or  younger and never had a prior flu shot, two shots one month or more apart are needed for protection.

Please make an appointment for your child(ren) to receive a flu shot this year, it could be important.  And we look forward to making the process as easy as possible as we all navigate providing this service as we receive the shipments of vaccine.

To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin

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