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Pediatricians brace for rise in flu cases, encourage vaccinations

This article appeared in WXYZ Detroit. Read more here.

Pediatricians are bracing for a rise in flu cases and other respiratory viruses among children this fall and winter, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The academy said the rate of flu vaccinations dropped last year with 55% of children getting vaccinated.

Jennifer Moore said her daughter Layla, 6, will definitely be getting the flu shot as soon as it is available.

“We have done the COVID-19 vaccine. We do the flu shots. She’s up to date on every vaccination that her pediatrician actually suggest,” Moore explained. “Essentially, day cares are kind of like a germ fest. So I just want to make sure that my child is protected as much as she can.”

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According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, vaccine “coverage levels were 8 percentage points lower among black children compared with white children.”

The academy goes on to say, “…the flu disproportionately affects families who are Black, Hispanic or American Indian or Alaska Native.”

Dr. Kevin Dazy, a pediatrician with Children’s Hospital of Michigan, spoke with 7 Action News.

“(The flu vaccine is) giving your children the best ability to fight off the infection when they see it,” he said. “They will encounter it, especially at school. Kids with asthma and other especially respiratory problems are going to be at increased risk of becoming severely ill.”

He said while cases of the flu were down last year, COVID-19 precautions may have been the reason. Those precautions, like masking up, aren’t as prevalent anymore.

Also, with children congregating and returning to pre-pandemic activities, Dazy said the vaccine is even more critical this year.

“They’re protecting themselves, the other children in the class, and even parents at home, grandparents especially as we think about even leading into the holiday season, times where it’s colder. We’re going to be indoors more,” he explained.

Dazy said parents who have any questions or concerns about the flu vaccine should, of course, consult with their child’s pediatrician.

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