The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said all 115 flu deaths that took place between Sept. 1, 2010 and Aug. 31, 2011 could effectively be prevented with influenza vaccine.
If you have a child who is below 5 years and is not vaccinated yet, you should get it done as soon as possible as more than four out of five kids who died of flu, were not vaccinated, the agency said.
What became a major concern for the parents is that 23 percent of the kids who died were already vaccinated and half of them were healthy and were not diagnosed with any high-risk medical conditions that made them vulnerable to flu complications.
However, the reason for the death of the vaccinated children can be some underlying diseases that the children were already suffering from, believe researchers. The influenza vaccine prevents children from flu but any underlying disease erodes their immune system and makes them susceptible to the flu. Nineteen percent of the kids who died of flu were already suffering from underlying lung diseases like asthma.
Of 57 children, with medical conditions, almost 50 percent of them had a neurological disorder, 30 percent had pulmonary diseases, 25 percent had genetic disorder and 19 percent had heart diseases.
Of the 94 children, who were hospitalized and eventually died with flu symptoms, only half received antiviral drugs.
It's vital that children get vaccinated, Dr. Lyn Finelli, chief of the CDC's Surveillance and Outbreak Response Team, says 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 anti-viral 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.
The influenza vaccine prevents the flu, said Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the CDC. And if someone does come down with the flu, the vaccine can help avoid serious complications.
In the two articles published in the Sept. 16 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, it is mentioned that Influenza-associated pediatric mortality has been a significant condition in the U.S. since October 2004.
Researchers found 46 percent of the children who died were below 5 years and 29 percent were below 2. The report underscores the fact that young age is itself a risk factor, a CDC news release notes.