GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming flu season could pose a double threat to your health, and so, this year doctors are saying the flu shot is more important than ever since the influenza symptoms are so similar to the coronavirus symptoms. Still, many parents plan to skip the flu vaccine for their kids.

A National Poll on Children’s Health, conducted by the University of Michigan, finds 32% of parents say their child is unlikely to get the vaccine this year. The survey shows families are fearful of the shot’s side effects or worried about the safety of the health care sites due to COVID.

However, here in the Grand Valley the Richardson family is listening to the doctor’s orders and getting the flu vaccine. Casey Richardson, a local parent, says “we’ve really never done it in the past, but just with the conditions of the local environment and things that are going on, we thought we would get it done.” And many other fathers and mothers agree. In the same national poll, 34% of parents believe the flu vaccine for children is more important this year than other years.

The CDC says thousands of children will get the flu this year, and although rare some kids will die. Dr. Thomas Tobin from Community Hospital says children are vulnerable to the flu because their immune systems are not fully developed.

Doctors also say the timing of the flu shot is important as well, and you should get it before peak flu season. Therefore, the CDC recommends everyone six-years or older should get the vaccine before the end of October.