The flu shot saves children’s lives

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Of the 358 kids who died from influenza between 2010 and 2014, solely 26% had been vaccinated towards it, in line with a examine simply launched within the journal Pediatrics.

Meaning 74%, or three out of 4 of them, had not. And perhaps if they’d been vaccinated, they’d be alive proper now.

Of all of the vaccines I give as a pediatrician, the flu shot is the one which households refuse most. Dad and mom don’t assume they want it. They don’t assume it really works. They assume it’s harmful. This frustrates me, as a result of none of those causes for refusing the flu shot are true.

Influenza generally is a harmful illness. Yearly, it kills hundreds of individuals. The 358 above is the variety of kids who died of what was confirmed to be influenza by testing; however testing isn’t at all times finished, so the quantity is probably going a lot larger. And many individuals die of problems of influenza, equivalent to bacterial pneumonia — or, for individuals who have power situations, the stress on their physique of influenza results in deadly issues from their situation. For that reason, it’s extraordinarily troublesome to understand how many individuals influenza kills annually. However hundreds of thousands of individuals catch it, and a whole lot of hundreds find yourself hospitalized. Whereas many individuals are simply depressing with fever and cough for a number of days, for some folks it’s much more severe.

Of these 358 kids within the examine, 153 had situations that put them at larger threat of getting sicker from the flu. That implies that greater than 200 had been wholesome kids. That’s the factor: being wholesome doesn’t imply you can be fantastic in case you get the flu. Many times, dad and mom inform me that their kids don’t want it as a result of they’re wholesome. Many times, I attempt to clarify that being wholesome isn’t sufficient to maintain you protected.

It’s actually true that the flu shot doesn’t at all times work. Because the examine identified, 26% of these kids who died had been vaccinated. On common, the flu vaccine is about 50-60% efficient. Dad and mom say to me typically: why hassle, if it won’t work? My reply is: why not get it, if it would work?

The one motive to not can be if it had been dangerous, however the scientific reality is that the influenza vaccine is kind of protected. It’s actually potential that your arm will be sore, or that you might get a fever; in line with information from the World Well being Group, “native reactions” equivalent to redness or soreness can occur as much as 50% of the time. Fevers occur in 12% of kids underneath 5 who get the vaccine, and in 5% of older kids. Whereas uncomfortable, these are temporary and manageable unwanted effects.

However severe reactions, equivalent to extreme allergic reactions, Guillain-Barre syndrome, or oculorespiratory syndrome, are extraordinarily uncommon — only some folks in each million who get the vaccine will expertise them. Of those, a extreme allergic response is the one one which has a major likelihood of being lethal — and people reactions occur lower than as soon as in each million doses.

Whereas we’re nonetheless seeing circumstances of flu, the season is winding down; quickly we’ll cease giving the flu shot once more till the tip of summer season or early fall. I hope that folks who’ve refused the flu shot previously will take the time to be taught extra and speak to their physician; I hope that when fall comes they gained’t miss an opportunity to assist maintain their baby wholesome — and alive.

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