Pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, and pediatric surgical subspecialists all play a role in ensuring that children receive influenza vaccine. This is particularly important during the pandemic, given the overlapping symptoms between COVID-19 and influenza and co-circulation of multiple respiratory viruses.
Every visit is an opportunity to administer and/or promote influenza vaccination, and to strengthen relationships with patients and families to encourage vaccine confidence. In addition, the AAP supports coadministration of routine childhood and adolescent immunizations with COVID-19 vaccines. Below are key points, answers to questions, and resources for the 2021-2022 influenza season to help you maximize influenza vaccination rates while keeping patients, families, and practice teams safe during the pandemic.
- Influenza (flu) activity during the 2020–2021 season was unusually low, despite high levels of testing, which contributed to significantly fewer flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths compared with previous flu seasons.
- The low level of flu activity last flu season is not an indicator of what to expect in the future. The impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on flu activity during the 2021-2022 flu season is uncertain. Changes in COVID-19 mitigation measures, like masking physical distancing, reduced travel, etc. and reduced population immunity may result in an early and possibly severe flu season.
- RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) activity is on the rise in certain regions of the United States, atypical from the normal season, resulting in increases in emergency department visits and hospitalizations of infants and children. Co-circulation of flu, SARS-CoV-2, and RSV could place an even greater burden on the health care system.
- Receiving flu vaccine is the best way to prevent influenza and the serious complications that can result from it, particularly for those with high risk conditions.
Infection Prevention and Control
American Academy of Pediatrics