Getting Your Child Vaccinated Reduces Their Risk Of Dying From Flu By At Least Half

by Megan Zander
Originally Published: 
Image via Shutterstock/Scott Rothstein

Getting your child vaccinated can reduce their risk of death from flu by at least half

A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics Journal shows that kids who receive their flu shot significantly reduce their risk of dying from the flu.

If you’ve managed to avoid getting the flu for a few years, it’s easy to forget how brutal it is, and pass on getting your family vaccinated. You may think that getting the flu is just like having a bad cold, but in addition to the coughing and stuffiness you get muscle aches and a fever as well. Little kids who get the flu are dealt an even worse hand, as they’re more likely to experience vomiting and diarrhea too. And unlike a cold, the flu can linger for weeks, leading to complications, and for some kids — death.

The study examined the cases of 358 children ages six months though 17 who suffered flu associated deaths from from July 2010 through June 2014. Researchers were able to determine vaccine status for 291 of the deaths. Of these children who passed away from the flu, 74% of them had not gotten their flu shot.

For kids with no underlying medical conditions, getting the flu shot reduced the risk of flu-associated death by nearly two-thirds, 65%. For children with “high risk” medical conditions such as asthma, blood disorders or heart conditions that puts them at a higher risk of developing complications if they contract the flu, getting the flu shot lowered their risk of flu-associated death by half. Of the 153 child deaths in the study who qualified as high risk, 69% of them had not received their flu shot.

The CDC guidelines on getting the flu vaccination can vary from year to year, but generally it’s recommended that everyone over the age of six months get vaccinated. The flu vaccination can take a few weeks to reach full immunity in your system, which is why you start seeing billboards for the flu shot go up before Halloween decorations have been taken down. And if you’re getting your child vaccinated for the first time, they’ll likely need two doses, with the second dose happening within 28 days of the first in order to get their immune systems fully on board with the vaccine.

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