A child came into the office yesterday for a check up and his flu vaccine.  I asked his mom if she would like a flu vaccine also.  Smiling a bit timidly, she declined, saying:  “I don’t believe in the flu vaccine.”  Well, that brought up a lot of questions in my mind, especially:  “What do you mean you don’t believe in the flu vaccine!!!”  Being respectful, of course (I’ve known and loved this family for years!), I simply said that she could get a flu shot here any time if she changed her mind.

I hope she does, but not just for her own sake.  People who don’t get flu vaccines (or other vaccines) risk not only their own health, but the health of family members, friends, and strangers as well.  Nanci Hellmich tells us why we all need to do our part to protect children:

A new report underscores what health professionals know but parents may not: The flu can be fatal to children, even healthy kids who don’t have other medical conditions.

Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 830 kids died from flu-related complications between October 2004 and September 2012, and most of those children had not gotten a flu vaccine. Pneumonia was the most commonly reported complication among the kids who died. Their median age was 7.

The report also shows that 43% of the kids who died from flu complications were otherwise healthy and didn’t have high-risk medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, certain types of cancer, congenital heart defects or  neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy or epilepsy. Children with those types of health problems are at a greater risk of dying from flu complications.


The emphasis above is mine.  So spread the word (not the flu), give us a call, and come in for a flu vaccine.  It may not be your own life that you save.

More PediaBlog posts on influenza here.