CDC Finds Flu Shot Saves Children’s Lives

The findings reinforce expert recommendations about annual flu shots.

About three out of every four children who recently died from flu complications did not receive the flu shot, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study’s authors estimated that approximately 65 percent of those children without underlying medical issues could have been saved if they received the vaccination, reports ABC News.

The researchers also found that the flu shot reduces the risk of flu-related death by about half among children with underlying medical conditions.

The study, which was published April 3 in Pediatrics, analyzed data on flu-related deaths among children in the country between 2010 and 2014. In that four year stretch, 358 children died of a confirmed flu infection.

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The results reinforce expert recommendations that children receive the flu shot before every flu season.

“Every year CDC receives reports of children who died from the flu,” Brendan Flannery, PhD, the study’s lead author, said. “This study tells us that we can prevent more of these deaths by vaccinating more.”

Since 2004, annual flu-related deaths among children have ranged from 37 (during the 2011-2012 flu season) to 171 (during 2012-2013). The current flu season has seen 61 pediatric deaths reported to the CDC.

The researchers said some people may be unaware that healthy children can die from the flu. Even healthy children are at risk and should get flu shots, although the risk is higher among children with medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia.

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