CDC confirms 1st pediatric flu death of the season, reminds parents to get vaccines for kids

Leah Hope Image
Monday, November 6, 2023
CDC confirms 1st pediatric flu death of the season
The CDC confirmed the first pediatric flu death of this year's season, saying it's urgent to get your vaccines for both COVID and the flu.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the U.S.'s first pediatric flu death of this year's influenza season, highlighting why you shouldn't delay in getting your, or your child's, vaccines.

"We don't want to see any child die from a preventable disease, whether it's flu or COVID," said CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen.

While the CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older should receive the annual flu vaccine, most people haven't - at least not yet. Only 22.7% of adults and 20.8% of children have gotten the flu shot this fall, according to CDC data from October 14.

This year, with the national emergency over, doctors had to order their own COVID vaccine which resulted in a slow rollout, especially for pediatric doses. The American Academy of Pediatrics said they was due to fewer pediatric doses available to families at the time, but more doses for kids are circulating now.

"It has been so hard to say to people give us a call in a couple weeks," said UI Health pediatrician Dr. Michelle Barnes.

Barnes said she got the COVID doses a couple weeks ago and reminded parents of the urgency to make sure their kids get their shots.

"It could be healthy child and, for whatever reason, get a strain of whatever the virus is that has negative outcomes for them that are not necessarily predictable," she said.

The COVID and flu vaccines are available at most pediatrician offices, hospitals and pharmacies like Walgreen's and CVS.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report