COVID-19 in schools: Pediatrician explains the importance of flu vaccine this year

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Doctors strongly encourage the flu vaccine every year. However, Dr. Johnson with Beckley Pediatrics Associates, said this year, the vaccine is extra important.

Some states are requiring the flu shot before children enter the classroom. Johnson said he understands why.

“But if we don’t do everything we can do to keep everyone healthy, reduce the spread of all the illnesses, including corona, they are going to shut school down,” Dr. Johnson explained.

He also points out that COVID-19 and the flu carry the same symptoms, which means when your child comes down with the flu this school year, it may be a real inconvenience.

“Every time you get the flu, it has the exact same symptoms as COVID. There will be no way to tell it apart,” Johnson explained. “You’re going to have to go through that testing, quarantining, all the problems that come along with it.”

People who oppose the mandated flu shot, said they should have a choice. Johnson agrees with that when it doesn’t affect public health.

“Some vaccines shouldn’t be mandatory because if it is not a risk of you bringing it to somebody else, at work or at school, they may not make those mandatory,” Johnson said. “This one is a risk. If you choose not to vaccinate and you get sick, you spread it to other people. They have a right to be protected.”

While COVID-19 is a risk to children in school, Johnson said it’s not the only risk, and not necessarily the greatest one, either.

“I still think flu is more dangerous for kids currently than COVID is,” Johnson said.

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