75% Of The Children Who Have Died From The Flu Weren’t Vaccinated

Thanks for nothing, anti-vaxxers.

This year’s flu season has been especially virulent, especially since the flu vaccine that was developed this year is apparently not completely effective in preventing people from getting sick, but it’s being made worse by people who aren’t getting the vaccine:

Of the 63 American children killed by the flu virus so far this season, just 13 had been vaccinated.

Top government doctors — including the Surgeon General, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and acting head of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — found this lack of vaccination so alarming that late Thursday afternoon they offered a joint briefing on the matter.

“Getting the flu shot is the same kind of sensible precaution as buckling your seatbelt,” said Health Secretary Alex Azar.

Of the 63 American children killed by the flu virus so far this season, just 13 had been vaccinated. 

Top government doctors — including the Surgeon General, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and acting head of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — found this lack of vaccination so alarming that late Thursday afternoon they offered a joint briefing on the matter.

“Getting the flu shot is the same kind of sensible precaution as buckling your seatbelt,” said Health Secretary Alex Azar.

To emphasize this point, both Adams and Secretary Azar said their own children had been vaccinated against the flu. Azar also noted that President Trump and all the medical experts on the stage had been vaccinated.

This flu season has been particularly severe. For the last week of confirmed data (Jan. 28 through Feb. 3), the CDC reported the highest rate of hospitalization for flu ever recorded since the current system was implemented in 2005.

“I know it’s been a scary flu season,” said acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat, who gave the statistic that three of four children killed by flu had not been vaccinated.
Schuchat said that the levels of people reporting influenza-like Illness, or ILI, are “around” what the U.S. experienced during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. However, “it doesn’t mean we’re having a pandemic right now,” she clarified.

A flu pandemic, according to the CDC, involves an outbreak of a new infectious virus. This year, all the strains are known, even expected. But this season’s dominant strain, known as H3N2 or the “Hong Kong” flu, is especially virulent because it tends to mutate more than other strains, rendering our vaccines less effective.

Although the flu vaccine in the U.S. is 36% effective overall, Schuchat said it’s been only 25 percent effective against H3N2, but over 60 percent effective against H1N1.

“We do continue to recommend getting the vaccine even this late in the season,” Schuchat said.

Thanks for nothing, anti-vaxxers.

FILED UNDER: Health, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Stormy Dragon says:

    Since, unlike most vaccines, you have to get the flu shot every year, some of it may be more to do with simple procrastination than intentional anti-vaxxerism.

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  2. JohnMcC says:

    Good grief! I just had the family dog vaccinated for canine flu. And there are children not protected!?

    Whatacountry!

    Gives a whole new meaning to that stupid slogan, ‘live free or die’.

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  3. MarkedMan says:

    Speaking as a pro-vaxxer who rarely gets around to getting the flu shot, I second Stormy’s comment.

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  4. CSK says:

    Trump got a flu shot? He’s spent years promoting the notion that vaccines cause autism.

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  5. Kevin Killion says:

    50 / 63 = 79%

  6. gVOR08 says:

    @Kevin Killion: 75% is close enough round off for headlines.

    To the extent it’s anti-vaxxers, stupidity is it’s own reward. Shame the sins of the fathers(and mothers) is visited on the children. I seem to recall that when I was a kid, when TV was black and white, you had to show proof of vaccination to get your kid into school. They no longer do that?

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  7. Lynn says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Since, unlike most vaccines, you have to get the flu shot every year, some of it may be more to do with simple procrastination than intentional anti-vaxxerism.”

    Or, as the mother of a friend’s grandchildren told her, “Well, if we happen to be in the MD’s office at the right time, I’ll have them vaccinated. Otherwise, it’s really not that big a deal.”

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  8. Franklin says:

    1) OK, hand up here … my kids didn’t get vaccinated for the flu this year due to procrastination. I would say we typically do it more than half the time, and we really intend to do that 100% in the future. Not because I’m particularly worried about the kids, but because their frequently-visited grandparents are getting a bit frail these days.

    2) So 79% of the dead kids weren’t vaccinated. But the article doesn’t offer the necessary comparison: how many alive kids weren’t vaccinated? (If that percentage is anywhere around 79%, then statistically the vaccine didn’t do anything to prevent death. I strongly suspect the true percentage is much lower and that the vaccine did help prevent deaths, but this article doesn’t show that.)

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