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Texas Children’s Hospital confirms First Flu Cases
As of today, Texas Children’s Hospital has confirmed more than 10 cases of the flu. The projected influenza resurgence and spread of the Omicron variant is raising concern among health experts.
In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Dr. Stan Spinner, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Texas Children’s Urgent Care, said, “If we have both the flu and COVID coming together, the strain certainly on medical facilities and hospitals to deal with that, is a big problem.”
While no one knows how bad this flu season will be, Dr. Spinner says getting your flu vaccine this year is particularly important. Like SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 disease – influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus. With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing and the influx in COVID-19 and RSV infections that we have seen in children this year alone, Dr. Spinner also says it is important for everyone to be proactive to help mitigate the spread of multiple respiratory outbreaks circulating at the same time.
“We need to do whatever we can to limit the impact and that starts with getting our children vaccinated against the flu. There are multiple strains of influenza virus, and typically different strains will predominate from one year to the next. While the vaccine doesn’t necessarily prevent one from getting the flu, the vaccine has a great safety track record and has been incredibly effective in preventing serious influenza consequences, namely hospitalizations and death. While influenza carries a higher risk for young children including the elderly, everyone is at risk of suffering severe illness from the flu. If you skip a flu vaccine, you will have less or possibly no protection from the flu that year. For younger children, it’s that repetitive exposure year after year to a lot of these infections that helps the immune system get a better response.”
Dr. Spinner points out that a flu vaccine can be given concurrently with the COVID-19 vaccine for children old enough to get the COVID-19 shot. Currently, children 5 years of age and older are eligible to receive the vaccine.
Click here to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician for your child’s flu vaccination. Click here for a list of routine immunizations to protect your children from vaccine-preventable diseases.