One hundred fifteen children under age 18 died from influenza between September 2010 and August 2011, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found, highlighting what the agency is calling the "vital" importance that children receive the flu vaccine each year.
"It's vital that children get vaccinated," Dr. Lyn Finelli, chief of the CDC's Surveillance and Outbreak Response Team said in a statement. "We know the flu vaccine isn't 100 percent effective, especially not in children with high risk medical conditions. That's why it's essential that these two medical tools be fully utilized. Vaccinate first; then use influenza antiviral drugs as a second line of defense against the flu. Right now we aren't fully using the medical tools at our disposal to prevent flu illnesses and deaths in children."
This season's influenza vaccine protects against three influenza viruses, the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. These are the same three flu virus strains that were circulating in 2010-2011 – just the eighth time since 1969 this phenomenon has occurred.