Dr. Allison Baynham of Metropolitan Pediatrics is PDX Parent’s new doctor columnist on call! Email her your questions at [email protected].

Photo courtesy Oneinchpunch

Is it really necessary for my kids to get a flu shot this year? We don’t normally get them, and they’re wearing masks all day at school.

The short answer is yes, absolutely! While it is true that mask wearing and social distancing help slow the spread of viruses, it is not 100% effective. In addition, the flu can be a very serious illness in children. Throw COVID into the mix and you can see why it’s more important than ever to protect your family by getting the flu shot this year. 

 It can be easy to forget how serious influenza can be in kids. Every year, thousands of children die from the flu, even those without underlying risk factors. Things that increase risk of severe disease in children include young age — less than 1 year old — and underlying respiratory disease such as asthma. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a formal recommendation for the 2021-2022 flu season that all children ages 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine.

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 The ideal time to vaccinate is by the end of October; but don’t worry, it’s not too late! Flu tends to peak in February. Flu mist (live attenuated intranasal flu vaccine) is again available this year, but not everyone is eligible. 

Even if you and your child are already vaccinated against COVID, getting the flu vaccine offers an additional layer of protection and helps slow the spread of infection to those who are more vulnerable.  The best place for more information on COVID and flu vaccines is your pediatrician. Let’s get ahead of the flu this season so that you can spend more time enjoying holiday activities with your loved ones.


For information on Covid-19 vaccine locations and tips to make a vaccination trip successful, head to our vaccines page.

Dr. Allison Baynham
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