Flu vaccination protects children against serious flu illness, even when they are infected with a virus that has mutated from the one in the vaccine, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study summarizes findings from a CDC vaccine effectiveness network investigating how well flu and COVID-19 vaccines work to prevent hospitalizations in children. A record 199 flu deaths in children were reported during the 2019-2020 flu season, when two viruses different from the vaccine viruses caused most flu activity. The H3N2 flu viruses circulating this season are closely related to the one in the vaccine, but have differences that may result in reduced protection from the vaccine, CDC said.
“It’s especially important that children get a flu vaccine in addition to their recommended COVID-19 vaccines this season,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D. “Flu season has started and currently flu vaccination is down in children, so now is the best time to get your child vaccinated, if you have not already.”