I never got my son a flu shot when he was a baby. He's always had a robust immune system and no health issues, so I assumed he didn't need it at all. But was I just gambling with my son's health? The latest research shows that even healthy children need flu shots -- because every year, healthy children with no major medical issues die from the flu, too. They don't just catch the flu, they die from it. The Centers for Disease Control recommends shots for everyone over the age of 6 months, which means even babies should get vaccinated for the flu. Now I see why.
Of 830 children who died from the flu between 2004 and 2012, 43 percent had no high-risk medical conditions. So all this time I've assumed that if your baby or child doesn't have asthma or any other health issues, they stand a good chance of surviving the flu -- if they catch it at all. Now I'm feeling a lot less confident about that.
Except ... when you think about it, 830 deaths within an eight-year period seems like a low number. Are there other factors involved? The odds still seem to be in favor of not vaccinating.
Who wants their child to be among the 830, though? Even one death by flu is one too many.
Ugh, it's such a numbers game. Basically you're either motivated by fear of the worst-case scenario or you're looking at your odds and deciding deciding if you can afford the risk. But now that we know that healthy children are almost just as likely to die from the flu as children with health issues, I feel like I have to factor good health out of the equation. And it does make me lean more toward vaccinating against the flu after all. I used to be pretty anti-flu vaccination, but I think I'm starting to change my mind.
Does knowing that healthy babies are just as likely to die from the flu change your mind about getting your baby a flu shot?
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