The chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah, Andrew Pavia, MD, outlines the importance of getting the flu shot during the pandemic.

Q: With COVID-19 cases surging, is it a good idea to get the flu shot early this season?

Pavia: I don’t think there is a rush to do it in August, but it is a good idea to get a flu shot this season. The consequences of getting the flu while COVID is circulating are serious.

Q: What are the implications?

Pavia: There are some we know and some we don’t know. If you develop flu-like symptoms, you’re going to have to get tested. You’re going to have to stay home quite a bit longer if you get a definitive [positive COVID-19] test than you would simply with flu symptoms. Also, you’re probably going to miss work when your workplace is very stressed or your children are stressed by having COVID circulating in schools.

The part we know less about are the implications of getting the flu and COVID together. There is some reason to believe if you get them together, the illness will be more severe. We are seeing that with RSV [respiratory syncytial virus] and parainfluenza and COVID coinfections in children. They appear to be quite severe.

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