The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced a second pediatric death from the flu in the 2019-20 season.
The reported deaths occurred in one Shiawassee county child and one Wayne County child.
Across the U.S., 32 pediatric-associated deaths have been confirmed in the 2019-20 flu season.
“These tragic deaths are a reminder of how serious influenza can be,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “I urge all Michiganders ages 6 months and older to get their flu shots if they have not already done so this season. It is not too late.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during last year’s flu season there were an estimated 34,200 deaths from influenza.
In Michigan, four children died last year due to flu-related complications, while nationally there were 136 flu-related deaths among children.
MDHHS strongly recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine.
Flu vaccine is the best way to prevent against getting the flu and can also reduce the severity of flu illness. During the 2018-2019 flu season, only 46.1 percent of Michigan residents were vaccinated against flu, below the national rate of 49.2 percent.
Vaccines are especially important for people at increased risk for complications from flu, including children, adults aged 65 years and older, persons of any age with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women.
Children less than 6 months of age are too young to be vaccinated and need to be protected by vaccination of their close contacts, including parents, siblings, grandparents, childcare workers and healthcare personnel.
It takes up to two weeks after receiving the vaccine before the body builds up enough immunity to prevent the flu, so Michigan residents should get vaccinated now to protect themselves before flu activity increases in Michigan. The flu shot is made with inactivated or killed viruses and cannot give you influenza.
There is still plenty of flu vaccine available. To find flu vaccine near you, call your healthcare provider, local health department or check the Health Map Vaccine Finder at Flushot.healthmap.org. For more information about the flu, visit Michigan.gov/flu.
To learn more about the influenza vaccine and other vaccines, visit IVaccinate.org.