Leading pediatricians in the United States are saying that some young children may need two flu shots this year after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted vaccination schedules last year and amid reports of a more viscous flu season in the southern hemisphere.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) put out a notice Tuesday that children between the ages of six months and eight years old who have received less than two flu shots during their life should double up on the jabs this time around. The two shots should be received around a month apart from one-another.
It comes in response to faltering flu shot demand over the past two years. More than half of Americans skipped or delayed receiving the shot last year as the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic caused many to totally forget about the annual virus.
Flu season has been especially brutal in the western hemisphere this year as well – where they are leaving winter and entering spring. Australia in particular reportedly suffered a much rougher season than what would be expected. A lack of flu shot uptake and minimal resistance because of limited exposure to the virus in recent years is believed to be at fault for the surge.
The White House is also asking for Americans to double up on shots, recommending both the newly-approved Omicron COVID-19 booster shot and the flu shot this fall.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending for people between the ages of six months and under the age of eight to receive two flu shots – spaced a month apart – this year if they have not already received at least two shots in their life
The AAP recommendations are not totally unprecedented. In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told parents to get their children double-jabbed against the flu if they had not received shots previously.
The guidance has stood since then, but has largely been ignored and gone unannounced each year.
Recorded cases of influenza dropped to ZERO at one Detroit hospital in 2020
Cases of influenza plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic, with one Detroit health system having a zero percent positivity rate for the virus, a new study finds.
Researchers from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, looked at data from Detroit Medical Center for the 2019-20 and the 2020-21 flu seasons.
They found that every single one of the 6,830 tests administered for adults, and the 1,441 for children came back negative for Influenza A and Influenza B during the 2020-21 (September 2021 to February 2021) flu season.
There were also zero positive tests for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in adults – out of 6,822 – and one for children among 1,404 tests.
The findings add to the wealth of existing information that shows social distancing and mask mandates put in place to protect from COVID-19 were effective in combatting the flu.
Positive tests of Influenza A, Influenza B and RSV were near non-existent in the 2020-21 flu season among adults compared to the 2019-2020 season
It is being revived this year after a two year span where the flu was largely forgotten, as the fall in winter seasons it usually dominates were instead defined by outbreaks of Covid.
In 2020, the flu was virtually absent. Pandemic prevention guidelines combined with viral interference from Covid led the the common virus falling off the radar.
Entering 2021, some feared that a ‘twindemic’ would emerge, as the combination of the flu and the Delta variant would rampage across the country.
Despite these warnings, an American Heart Association report found that 60 percent of Americans either delayed or chose not to get their flu shot last year.
Instead, Omicron erupted in late-November, wiping out both the flu and Delta.
Covid is more under control now than it has ever been, though. Case figures have stagnated in recent months and the newly approved Omicron-tailored jabs can limit the spread of the highly infectious virus as well.
The White House is hoping that people will be willing to get both shots. Dr Ashish Jha, the Biden Administration’s pandemic response coordinator said Tuesday that: ‘I really believe this is why God gave us two arms, one for the flu shot and the other one for the Covid shot.’
Officials in the southern hemisphere are starting to sound alarms about the upcoming flu season.
Australia suffered its worse flu season in a half-decade this year, with peak case rates reaching heights three times higher than usual.
In New Zealand, case figures this year returned to pre-pandemic normal after two years of stark decreases.
‘The Southern Hemisphere has had a pretty bad flu season, and it came on early,’ Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert told Bloomberg.
‘Influenza — as we all have experienced over many years — can be a serious disease, particularly when you have a bad season.’