CDC: Flu-associated deaths among young people could be prevented if they are vaccinated

ATLANTA — New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 115 people ages 18 years and younger died from influenza-related causes between September 2010 and August 2011.

Despite the agency issuing a recommendation for vaccination of all children ages 6 months and older back in 2008, only 23% of the 74 children older than 6 months of age with a known vaccination history had received their flu vaccine last season.

The CDC said that though it is rare for children and teenagers to die from flu-related deaths, many of them could have been avoided if they were vaccinated against the flu.

“It′s vital that children get vaccinated,” CDC′s Surveillance and Outbreak Response Team chief Lyn Finelli said. “We know the flu vaccine isn′t 100% 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.”