This year's flu expected to be harsh on kids, but doctors say quadrivalent vaccine is a good match

Denise Dador Image
Friday, September 8, 2023
This year's flu shot is a good match, doctors say
"Flu is not just a common cold. Flu can be deadly." The flu season is expected to come early this year and be especially harsh on kids.

With a new COVID shot and new RSV vaccines rolling out this fall, experts say don't miss a chance to get your flu shot. The flu is expected to come early and be especially harsh on kids.

"Flu is not just a common cold. Flu can be deadly," said Dr. David Bronstein with Kaiser Permanente Antelope Valley.

The Southern Hemisphere already had their flu season, and infectious disease experts say it was awful.

"It really affected kids this year in Australia, lots of kids getting sick and getting hospitalized. They even called it the 'kindy flu,' because so many kids were being affected," he said.

Bronstein said this year's quadrivalent flu vaccine appears to be a good match for what's heading our way.

"You have protection against the two dominant strains of flu A, so H3N2 and H1N1, as well as protection against two different strains of flu B," Bronstein said.

MORE: What to know about RSV vaccines as pharmacies begin rollout

This fall, you will need your yearly flu shot, the new COVID vaccine and for many Americans - one more shot.

Every September, Priscilla Iturriaga of Palmdale and her five kids always get their flu shots.

"I don't ever remember getting the flu. None of my kids ever got it," she said.

The flu has been kind to Iturriaga, but doctors say the shot doesn't prevent every little cough or runny nose. Its true goal is to keep you alive.

"It's to prevent the flu from causing pneumonia, to prevent the flu from going to the brain and causing encephalitis or going to the heart and causing myocarditis," Bronstein said.

With the flu expected to hit early, Bronstein said get the flu shot now, especially kids 8 and younger who've never had one because they'll need two doses. People who are elderly should ask their pharmacists for the high dose vaccine.

"If that's not available in your area right now, wait a few weeks. That's okay. And get the high dose for everyone 65 and up," he said.

Bronstein said it's perfectly fine to get a flu shot at the same time you get your COVID and RSV vaccine if you're eligible. The most important thing is not to skip it.

"Get it, I mean, protect yourself. You don't wanna get sick. You don't wanna end up in the hospital, " said Iturriaga.

To protect the most vulnerable, doctors say everyone needs to get a flu shot.