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Picture of adorable little boy at his doctor's appointment

Flu Vaccine More Important than Ever

By Dr. Douglas Mitchell, Norfolk Pediatrics

Every year, we encourage our families to make sure children who are 6 months and older receive their annual flu vaccination.

It’s even more important this fall as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout our community. Autumn and winter always bring more respiratory viruses, and we want to do everything we can to reduce the possibility of a child having the flu and COVID-19 in the same season.

Any kind of virus can lower a child’s immunity, which can reduce the ability to fight against another virus. This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends either the flu shot or the nasal spray flu vaccine.

What age should children get the flu vaccine?

All children 6 months of age and older should receive a flu vaccination. Children 6 months of age through 8 years of age who have never received the flu vaccine will need two flu shots, four weeks or more apart. After the first season, they only need one dose.

When is the best time?

September and October are the best months to receive the flu vaccine, but don’t put this off until the last minute because doctor’s offices get busier later in the season. The flu season can begin as early as October and as late as April or May.

After receiving the vaccine, it takes about two weeks to become fully protected, so it’s best to get this done by the end of October.

Where’s the best place to get a flu shot?

Parents today have a lot of options, but we recommend that children get flu vaccines at their pediatrician’s office. Your pediatrician knows your child’s medical history and can also make sure your child is caught up on other vaccinations, such as measles and whooping cough. These diseases can hit children more severely than COVID-19, so it’s important that children not fall behind on their vaccination schedule.

If you do decide to go to a pharmacy or elsewhere, keep a record of the vaccine and give it to your pediatrician to ensure your child’s shot record is up to date.

What is being done at CHKD pediatric practices to make sure patients and families are safe from COVID-19?

We require anyone entering a CHKD facility to wear a face covering, except for children younger than 2 years and those who are not developmentally or medically able to wear a mask. We’re also limiting the number of people in our facilities, and separating those who are sick from those who are well. We follow strict guidelines for disinfecting equipment and surfaces.

What else can we do to keep from getting viruses like the flu and COVID-19?

The same advice works for the flu, COVID-19, and other viruses. Everyone should wash their hands frequently during the day with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid contact with people who are sick. When you go out, wear a face covering, and stay at least six feet from other people. Avoid touching your face, nose, or mouth.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.