Flu Shots Save Children's Lives, Study Finds

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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