DENVER -- Doctors are encouraging Coloradans to get their flu shots as soon as possible. There are concerns this year’s flu season could be worse because of the nearly non-existent flu season in 2020-2021.
“Often when you have a mild season before, you can have a worse season the following year,” said Dr. Sam Dominguez, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Dominguez said it’s not too early to get a flu shot, especially since we don’t know when flu will arrive. Epidemiologists have been watching the Southern Hemisphere, which hasn’t had a bad flu season so far, but flu is difficult to predict.
“As we have all seen this past year, everything is not acting the way it's supposed to,” Dominguez said, pointing to an off-season surge in RSV and other respiratory viruses in children.
Dr. Dominguez is concerned that kids could become infected with the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.
“Right now, we are seeing kids who are infected with one or two or even three or four different viruses, and often times you can be sicker when you're infected with more than one virus,” he said.
Flu shots are already being offered at several area pharmacies. Dominguez said it’s perfectly safe to get the flu shot at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine for kids 12 and older.
“We do recommend you get them in different arms, just to sort of minimize local reaction to the vaccines, but other than that, it's fine to get them both at the same time,” Dominguez said.
Children’s Hospital is seeing a growing number of young patients infected with COVID-19. As of August 27, the hospital reported patient volumes 20% above normal, and pediatric ICU volumes 60% above normal.