KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s time to get your flu vaccine. Doctors urge parents to protect children against the flu by getting them vaccinated every year and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital says it’s more important than ever this year.

Top things to know about the 2021-2022 flu season:

  • Don’t wait to get vaccinated.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that the vaccine is given to as many children as possible before the flu starts circulating in the community says Dr. Julia Arana from ETCH. The AAP recommends all children 6 months and older should get their flu vaccine as soon as it’s available. Arana says that this is ideally by the end of October. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to be effective.

  • Flu is dangerous for children.

Arana shared that complications from flu kill more than 100 children every year. She added that even healthy children can die from the flu.

  • All flu vaccines will be quadrivalent.

This means this year’s vaccines are designed to protect against four different flu viruses.

  • Flu and COVID-19 vaccine can be administered at the same time.

Arana says to check with your child’s doctor for the timing of vaccinations for your child. But, the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised that flu vaccine can be administered simultaneously with or any time before or after administration of currently available COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Importance of getting flu vaccine every year

Flu viruses are constantly changing and different viruses can circulate and cause illness each season. Each year flu vaccines are to protect against the flu viruses that research indications will be most common while still providing some protection against any strain.

Arana explains that because that there was very little flu activity last year so it’s difficult to know which strain is likely to begin circulating. This is why it’s important that this year’s vaccine provides protection against four strains of flu.