NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Did your child get a flu shot this year? If not, you may be putting their life at risk.
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control says the flu vaccine significantly reduces a child’s risk of dying from the flu.
Jennifer Miller cherishes spending time with her daughter Caroline. She almost lost her in 2012. At the time, she thought the five-year-old was having an asthma attack.
“I was breathing really loudly,” Caroline said. “Like, it was kind of hard to breathe.”
She was diagnosed with influenza and pneumonia. Within 36 hours, she was on a ventilator and fighting for her life.
The Millers usually got annual flu shots, but they were busy that year and say they just didn’t get around to it.
“It’s tremendous guilt,” Jennifer said. “She couldn’t make her own appointment. That was my responsibility.”
CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports that a new study in the Journal Pediatrics shows the majority of children who die from the flu are not vaccinated. Researchers studied 291 pediatric flu deaths between 2010 and 2014 and found that three-quarters of the children who died had not been vaccinated, and two-thirds of the kids with underlying health problems were not vaccinated.
“Those children are more likely to have severe influenza if they do get sick and are more likely to die,” Epidemiologist from the Influenza Division of the CDC Dr. Brendan Flannery said.
Jennifer’s daughter was at an increased risk because of her mild asthma.
“Not getting her flu shot was by fat the greatest parenting mistake and really the greatest mistake I have ever made in my life,” Jennifer said.
She now works with the group Families Fighting Flu, and has made it her mission to make sure what happened to Caroline doesn’t happen to other families
An annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older, but it’s especially important for children with asthma or other chronic illnesses such as congenital heart, lung, and kidney disease or significant obesity.
While the CDC says that this year’s flu season has been relatively mild, 61 children have already died from the disease this year.