Influenza Vaccine Not Being Received by Young Flu Victims
The influenza vaccine could save children’s lives, but experts found that among the 115 children who died of flu-related causes last year, less than a quarter of them had received the flu vaccine, ABC News reported.
According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of the children who died between September 2010 and August 2011 of flu-related symptoms did not have any known high-risk medical condition that would have made them more susceptible to flu complications.
While childhood deaths from the flu are extremely rare, the influenza vaccine could have likely saved the lives of these children, experts said.
"The influenza vaccine prevents the flu," said Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the CDC, according to ABC News. "And if someone does come down with the flu, the vaccine can help avoid serious complications."
People often believe that young, healthy children can fight the flu naturally, but CDC officials said being young was a risk factor for flu complications. Researchers urged that children older than six months, unless they have certain conditions, receive the influenza vaccinations.
"Immunization is essential," said Dr. Lewis Goldfrank, the chairman of emergency medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center, as quoted by ABC News. "The fact that we have access to vaccine is a great privilege and opportunity for all. Influenza is preventable, and as these children unfortunately demonstrate, it can be a lethal disease for young children even if they are not previously shown to have serious co-morbidities."
The report was released Sept. 15 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.