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Parents urged to make sure children are up-to-date on all vaccinations, including flu shot

With many schools not requiring mask wearing, health officials worry about a spike in other viral cases, as well as COVID-19.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — With a surge in COVID-19 cases in schools, health officials are reminding parents the importance of getting other vaccines to prevent other viral outbreaks. 

Dr. Elizabeth Mack is a Pediatric Critical Care Physician at the Medical University of South Carolina. She said hospitals are seeing patients with viruses that are not common during the summer. 

"A variety of viruses that we typically see in the winter are now haunting children's hospitals around the country," Dr. Mack said.

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Mack is encouraging parents to make sure their children are up-to-date on their shots. 

On Friday, children's hospitals in the Midlands were reporting high numbers of pediatric patients and capacity limits were being reached. 

RELATED: 'Very, very near a dire situation': Midlands hospitals seeing a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations

"So, we are now experiencing our usual childhood illnesses and injuries, COVID, and a surge in viruses that we don't normally see in the summertime, that typically appear in the winter," Dr. Mack said.

Health officials worry about the upcoming fall and winter seasons when more people gather indoors, without a mask mandate in the Palmetto State. 

RELATED: More children being hospitalized for COVID-19, SC doctors warn

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is being given out to people as young as 12-years-old. Dr. Mack said there is no wait time period to get other vaccinations, and it's safe to co-administer shots.

"The CDC says now that other vaccines may be administered without regard to timing, even on the same day, as well as co-administration within 14 days," Dr. Mack said. "So, that little bit that we heard earlier on when the vaccines were first released, it no longer an issue."

RELATED: Yes, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and the flu shot at the same time

Dr. Mack also adds with no mask mandates in schools, it's important to have proper immunization to prevent other viruses like chickenpox, meningitis, influenza, etc. 

"If you're doing your back to school visit or your flu shot visit or what have you, you can get it all in as we're used to doing, particularly in regards with children," Dr. Mack said.

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