Study Says Unvaccinated Children Account For Majority Of Pediatric Flu Deaths

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A study which appeared in this week’s issue of the journal Pediatrics has found that when children do die of the flu, it is likely that they have not been vaccinated.

Researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently completed a study where they looked at 291 of the 358 U.S. children between ages 6 months to age 17 who died of the flu, between 2010 and 2014. Just 26 percent of the children who died had been vaccinated against influenza.

In total, 153 of the children who died had underlying high-risk medical conditions – such as asthma, blood and endocrine disorders, or neurological problems. Among them, only 31 percent had been vaccinated.

The vaccine’s overall effectiveness against death was 65%. The effectiveness of the vaccine for children with high-risk conditions was 51% – a level of protection which study authors say is “significant.”

The study authors concluded that the flu vaccine is linked to a lowered risk of flu-associated death among children.

This study certainly highlights the importance of annual influenza vaccination for children, especially those with underlying high-risk medical conditions, which they say puts children at higher risk of severe complications as well as influenza-associated death.


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