The COVID-19 pandemic was already on the upswing as schools started opening up across the country this year. Given that many children are too young to be vaccinated even if their parents would be so inclined, and many schools have declined to impose mask mandates, it’s reasonable to be concerned that we could see even more cases among younger patients as the next few weeks progress. So, this year more than most others, it would be prudent to be aware of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for vaccination during the 2021–2022 influenza season. As in the past, AAP recommends that all children 6 months of age and older get the vaccine. While the full set of recommendations is available on the AAP website, there are a couple of key points with which urgent care providers should become familiar. Quoting from the guidelines verbatim:
- “Children 6 months through 8 years of age who are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time, who have received only 1 dose ever before July 1, 2021, or whose vaccination status is unknown should be offered vaccination as soon as influenza vaccines become available and should receive 2 doses of vaccine 4 weeks apart, ideally by the end of October. Children needing only 1 dose of influenza vaccine, regardless of age, should also receive vaccination ideally by the end of October. Data available to date on waning immunity do not support delaying vaccination in children.
- “Influenza vaccine may be administered simultaneously with or any time before or after administration of the currently available novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines. Given that it is unknown whether reactogenicity of COVID-19 vaccines will be increased with coadministration of influenza vaccine, the reactogenicity profile of the vaccines should be considered, and providers should consult the most current Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)/AAP guidance regarding coadministration of COVID-19 vaccines with influenza vaccines.”