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What’s the Latest with the Flu in an Era of COVID-19, September 2020

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms are similar to those associated with influenza (fever, cough). Keep up-to-date on the latest information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) by visiting the Critical Updates on COVID-19 web page. Members of the AAP can also connect with their peers on the AAP COVID-19 Discussion Board. Email COVID-19@aap.org with any additional questions. 

2020-2021 Influenza Recommendations

American Academy of Pediatrics

On September 8, 2020, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued updated recommendations in its policy statement, "Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2020–2021. Any licensed, age-appropriate vaccine is acceptable, according to the recommendations, which are similar to those of the last flu season. Public health officials warn that hospital beds and emergency services could quickly extend beyond capacity in communities where coronavirus transmission is high. The AAP and the CDC continue to recommend annual influenza immunization of all children without medical contraindications, starting at 6 months of age." Complete influenza vaccination by the end of October is recommended by the AAP and CDC. Children who need 2 doses of vaccine should receive their first dose as soon as possible when vaccine becomes available, and children who require only 1 dose of influenza vaccine should also ideally be vaccinated by end of October.

The AAP has designed Influenza Implementation Guidance to help practitioners and pediatric office staff prevent influenza by delivering influenza vaccine according to the AAP policy statement.

CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has updated its seasonal flu vaccine guidance for the 2020-2021 influenza season. Primary changes to the recommendations include updates to the vaccine virus composition of A(H1N1)pdm09, influenza A(H3N2), and influenza B/Victoria lineage components. Licensure of two new vaccines for people aged > 65 is also discussed. Access the full report in the August 21, 2020 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. A summary of the report is available on this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage.

Preparing your Practice for the 2020-21 Influenza Season: A Virtual Townhall

On August 11, 2020, the AAP conducted and recorded a virtual townhall to help you prepare your practice for the upcoming influenza season. Access the webinar and resource page, including a step-by-step guide to establishing a drive-thru clinic here.

It is Time to Promote Flu Vaccination: 3 Things Pediatricians Can Do 

With the added challenges of COVID-19, it is especially important to make sure that as many people as possible get their seasonal flu vaccine. Take steps to ensure that your staff, your patients, and their family members (especially pregnant women and those families that include children or persons with certain underlying medical conditions) receive their flu vaccination.

Here are three things you can do. 

  1. Promote the importance of flu vaccination on social media. Consider using the hashtags #Ivax2Protect, #VaccinesWork, and #FightFlu throughout the influenza season. Visit the AAP Immunizations Campaign web page for downloadable infographics, sample social media posts, and additional resources. 

  2. Direct families to critical resources. HealthyChildren.org is the AAP website for parents and includes several resources on flu that pediatricians can share with families: 
  3. Encourage pregnant women to get vaccinated. Flu shots are recommended for all women during their pregnancy for their own protection against flu and its complications. Pregnant women who are vaccinated against the flu at any time during their pregnancy also pass on protection to their infants during their first several months of life (when they are too young to receive the flu vaccine themselves). Check out a new downloadable infographic from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on top reasons why pregnant women need a flu shot.

Recent COVID-19 interim clinical guidance from the AAP includes the following:

Additional Information 

See the AAP Red Book Online Influenza Resource pageAAP Red Book Online COVID-19, and CDC FluView

This message is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $200,000 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.