SRINAGAR – Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday urged parents to get their children vaccinated against flu ahead of third Covid wave which is predicted to happen sometime in the fall of this year and is expected to affect kids the most.
“Receiving a flu shot could make it easier to tell if your child has Covid-19 in the event he/she gets sick as both illnesses have similar symptoms,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“This year’s flu season will likely coincide with the predicted third Covid wave. Administering flu vaccine would reduce the number of unnecessary Covid-19 tests that would limit the burden on hospitals and healthcare workers,” he added.
Quoting a recent study conducted at the University of Missouri School of Medicine Columbia, Dr Hassan said flu vaccination may offer some protection against Covid-19 in the pediatric population.
“The study found that those Covid-19 positive patients who had been administered the flu vaccine in the 2020 flu season had reduced odds of experiencing symptoms, respiratory complications and severe disease,” he said.
The DAK President said we would be facing a double whammy of flu and Covid this fall.
“You can catch the flu and Covid at the same time which could increase your risk of ending up in ICU or on a ventilator. That makes this season’s flu vaccine vitally important,” he said.
“Everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine before the start of flu season which begins in October and can last late into May. Since it takes 2 weeks for the flu vaccine to become fully effective, it is best to get the vaccine in September,” said Dr Nisar.
“This season’s flu vaccine has been updated to better match currently circulating viruses. This year a quadrivalent influenza vaccine containing H1N1, H3N2 and two B viruses – Victoria and Yamagata is recommended,” he said.
“While the vaccine is recommended for all, it is especially needed in young children, elderly, pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions.
Vaccination to expectant mothers is critically important to protect their new born babies’ upto 6 months who are too young to receive the vaccine,” he added.