Flu Shots Save Children’s Lives, Study Finds

A new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, reports that children should receive flu shots because seasonal influenza can be life-threatening even in children without known risk factors. The study found that 830 children died between 2004 and 2012, and that 43 percent of those children had no risk factors or immune issues at the time of their death.  More from The New York Times:

Recommendations for vaccination changed over the period, but since 2008, the C.D.C. has recommended a flu shot for everyone 6 months or older.

Of the 511 children whose vaccination status was known, 84 percent had not had a flu shot. In the 2009-10 flu season, when 66 children with a known vaccination status died, 64 of them were unvaccinated.

Death often came quickly: most of the children died within a week of the appearance of symptoms, and a third of them died outside the hospital or in an emergency room.

“A lot of parents don’t think of flu as being very serious, especially if their child is healthy” said the lead author, Dr. Karen K. Wong, a medical officer with the C.D.C. “But this study shows that even healthy children are at risk, and that’s why it’s important for every child to get vaccinated.”

Image: Baby receiving a flu shot, via Shutterstock

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