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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Covid-19: Here’s how flu vaccine can help keep kids safe

"Vaccinating children with flu shots will offer possible benefit of viral interference, preventing infection risk and bringing down infection severity in the possible third wave," a doctor says

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: June 10, 2021 10:04:08 am
Covid-19 third wave, Covid-19 third wave and kids, flu vaccine, flu shot, influenza vaccine, flu vaccine versus Covid-19 third wave in kids, health, indian express newsThe Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) recommends giving annual flu shots to all children below five. (Representational image/Pixabay)

While the first and second waves have been devastating, it is being predicted that a third wave of the Covid infection may hit the country soon. And that it will affect children more this time. While it cannot be predicted as to when exactly the wave will hit, doctors warn that as a safety measure, children be kept at home, and pandemic-appropriate protocols are followed to ensure their safety.

In what appears to be an encouraging piece of information though, it is being said that vaccinating your child against flu could be effective in fighting the third wave.

According to Dr Jesal Sheth, senior consultant-pediatrician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) recommends giving annual flu shots to all children below five. “Recent studies conducted during the pandemic in Michigan and Missouri, among children infected with COVID-19, showed those who had been vaccinated with inactivated influenza vaccine during the flu season in 2019-20 in the US, had slightly reduced risk of catching COVID-19 infection, as well as reduced risk of suffering from severe infection,” she said.

So, how does the flu shot protect kids from severe Covid?

“SARS-CoV-2 and influenza have similar epidemiologic and clinical features. With the ongoing Covid crisis, additional influenza infection may convert the pandemic into a ‘twindemic’ situation; vaccinating children with flu shots will offer possible benefit of viral interference, preventing infection risk and bringing down infection severity in the possible third wave,” Dr Sheth explained, adding that it is important to note “the flu vaccine and Covid vaccine are different”.

“A gap of four weeks needs to be maintained between the two vaccines so that the child gets ample time for the antibodies to develop, and to build all kinds of immunity against viral interferences.”

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