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Doctors stress the importance of kids getting the flu vaccine

The flu can be deadly in children.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — While everyone is focused on the COVID-19 vaccine, there is another shot doctors are hoping everyone will get that they know will saves lives.

It's the flu shot. 

This year doctors say it's more important than ever to get your child vaccinated.

First, the flu and COVID-19 can have overlapping symptoms so it can be hard for doctors to determine which you have. And, there's a real concern about someone getting both at the same time. 

However, the flu can hit children especially hard, so it's important to make sure they are protected.

Dr. Joseph Perno is the Chief Medical Officer at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital and says every year they admit hundreds of children with the flu, some get seriously ill.  

"Sadly the flu, it kills people every year and it kills children every year. And it's sad because it's mostly preventable and we see that the high majority of most people that succumb to the flu, especially in children, are children who were not immunized against flu," Perno said. "We've been lucky with COVID and children. It's kind of a flip of what we're used to. Usually kids get hit harder by stuff than adults, but flu hits children very, very hard."

RELATED: Pediatricians call for kids to wear face masks during most youth sports

While it may be difficult to see your child get a shot, it's a lot easier than seeing them in an ICU. 

"As parents, we do everything we can to protect our children so we're offering a great opportunity to protect your child and we urge parents to take us up on that," Perno said. 

The flu shot is recommended each year starting at six months old. 

Dr. Perno says, so far, we've seen a very mild flu season. That could be because the vaccine is working well in addition to all of the other measures we're taking to prevent COVID. 

He also says it's not too late to get the flu shot, but do it soon because it can take up to two weeks to be fully effective. If you have questions, you can always reach out to your doctor or local health department.