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Doctors urging parents to consider flu shots for children during pandemic

Doctors said children aren't less likely to get COVID-19 compared to adults and if they have both, it can be devastating.

ATLANTA — Right now, the attention is on the COVID-19 pandemic but with fall just weeks away, doctors say the COVID crisis could really shake up flu season.

Dr. Frita Fisher is a triple board-certified MD in Atlanta.

“With us having COVID-19 and the flu, the results could be catastrophic unless patients get the flu vaccine,” she said.

Dr. Frita said it’s also important to get children the flu shot. She said kids are not at a lesser risk of getting COVID-19 compared to adults and having both illnesses can be devastating.

Just last week, a 1-year-old baby in Cobb County died from COVID-19. Last month, the virus killed a 7-year-old boy in Chatham County.

“The symptoms of the flu can be very similar to symptoms of COVID-19 and what you don’t want is for the things to be confused and so the best things for parents to do is to decrease the amount of flu we get this season,” she said.

According to the CDC, a fever, cough, shortness of breath, and runny nose are a few of the symptoms that are similar between the seasonal flu and COVID-19.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is also urging families to vaccinate their kids. The healthcare system reported the seasonal flu killed nearly 200 children during last year’s flu season.

This conversation isn’t just happening in Georgia.

Last month, the governor of Massachusetts mandated the flu shot for all children going back to schools, universities, and daycares.

Dr. Frita said by choosing to get the flu shot this year, people can play a big part in not potentially overwhelming local hospitals.

“If we have an overwhelming flu season in the midst of this overwhelming COVID-19 pandemic, we can absolutely overwhelm our hospital resources and that could be frightening,” said Dr. Frita.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.