LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Norton Healthcare doctors say it’s time for people young and old to get their flu shots.
“It’s important to get the vaccine now because we want kids to have protection when flu season starts,” said Dr. Kristina Bryant, infectious disease physician with Norton Children’s Infectious Diseases.
What You Need To Know
- Norton doctors are recommending people get their flu shots, as it could be a severe flu season
- “Mild” flu seasons in the last few years could result from mitigation strategies implemented for COVID-19, many of which are no longer in use
- Flu immunization rates for kids have been falling the last few years
- Only 50% of kids 6 months to 17 years of age got a flu shot in Kentucky last year
Bryant recommends anyone six months and older get vaccinated for the flu every year, and to do so before the end of October.
“Now is the time because we’re already starting to see flu cases. It’s an early flu season,” Bryant said.
This comes after what Bryant calls some “mild” flu seasons the last few years. One reason could be the mitigation strategies implemented for COVID-19, many of which are no longer in use.
“I worry that some parents may have forgotten how bad the flu can be in kids. This is predicted to be a particularly severe flu season,” Bryant said.
Flu season is wrapping up in the southern hemisphere. It was a severe one in places like Australia, which has experienced what Bryant called a “twindemic,” a surge in cases of both flu and COVID-19.
Going into flu season here in the U.S., there are kids who’ve never been exposed to the flu, and therefore lack natural immunity.
Bryant said flu immunization rates for kids have been falling the last few years. She said only 50% of kids 6 months to 17 years of age got a flu shot in Kentucky last year. That’s compared to 58% nationwide.
“We are lagging behind with flu immunization of our kids,” Bryant said.
She said the flu can be particularly severe for kids under five years old and for those with other health conditions.
Schools no longer requiring masks could increase transmission, Bryant said. And kids can fuel transmission in the larger community. With the flu, people become contagious before they develop symptoms. That’s what makes it easy for the flu to spread in settings like school.
All Norton offices in the greater Louisville area are offering the vaccine.