Flu shots urged by pediatricians when children’s hospitals are crowded


Families should make sure everyone in the household gets a flu shot, a group of pediatricians urged Friday as a trio of respiratory viruses continue to hit children’s hospitals.

The Canadian Pediatric Society says this advice is even more urgent for families with young children, as flu is spreading rapidly, along with the rise of COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus.

The organization says children under the age of 5 and people with chronic medical conditions are more likely to be hospitalized if they get the flu.

Dr Kevin Chan, chair of the CPS acute care committee, said parents and caregivers should contact their GP or local public health unit to find out where they can place the shots. injections appropriate for their age.

“I would encourage families to get the flu vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Chan.

Earlier this week, public health officials reported the beginning of a flu epidemic, with flu levels higher than in previous years.

Chan admits, with the combination of COVID-19, parents of young children may face a decision about which vaccine to prioritize.

Federal data shows that 7.3 percent of children four years of age and younger have received a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and only 2.4 percent of children in that age group have completed the primary series of vaccines.

Although adults and children five years of age and older can get the COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that for children six months to five years of age, give the COVID-19 vaccine two weeks apart from other vaccines. The recommendation is “out of an abundance of caution to make monitoring for side effects easier,” according to the Hamilton Health Science website.

For those cases, Chan said, the flu shot should now be a priority.

“I would strongly recommend getting the influenza A vaccine a little earlier than the COVID vaccine at this stage,” he said. “Because it’s clear that the number of influenza A viruses is very high right now.”

If more children were vaccinated, he said, it could help reduce the number of children in children’s hospitals across the country.

“It will make a big difference in reducing your child’s risk of getting sick,” he says.

Dr Theresa Tam, Canada’s director of public health, said at a news conference on Friday that an increase in transmission of the virus in the childhood age group could be passed on to seniors and vulnerable people. most hurt.

“That could happen next, and we need to protect our elderly, our long-term care facilities, who of course have been through a really hard time for two to three years. over,” she said.

The Canadian Pediatric Association and the National Advisory Committee recommend that all children six months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year.

Tam noted that flu vaccination rates are often highest among the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.

“So there is always room to enhance vaccine uptake in young children,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 18, 2022.

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