Dad Says Daughter Died Because She Didn’t Get a Flu Vaccine

Heartbreaking 37

Moms I know are freaking out about the flu this year. With just cause too, as this flu season has been a doozy. People are dying, mayors are declaring states of emergency, and medical professionals are asking the public to please get vaccinated.

Children are especially susceptible to the flu virus -- 29 kiddos have already died this year from flu-related complications. One dad, Joe Lastinger, is particularly urging parents to vaccinate their children if they haven’t done so already. He knows what it’s like to skip it and regret it later.

In 2004, Lastinger’s 3-year-old daughter died just days after exhibiting flu-like symptoms. He shared his family’s tragic story on HuffPost Live on Wednesday, including the detail of when he heard his wife screaming that their little girl wasn’t breathing. They were scheduled to take her to the pediatrician for a repeat visit later that day.

The scariest part about this whole story is how Lastinger describes his sick daughter in the days before she died. She didn’t seem like she was on her deathbed; she seemed like any other under-the-weather little girl. She was listless, had a lack of appetite, and was content to lie on the couch and watch cartoons. This scene sounds familiar to any parent that has been one long enough to endure a cold, cough, or infection of some sort.

This “perfectly healthy” little girl died from complications brought on by the flu in a matter of days. She had an on-and-off fever, was throwing up a little, and keeping her parents awake at night. Then she died.

Many parents these days -- myself included -- are wary of giving their kids too many meds. I even put my kids on a delayed vaccination schedule, and seriously hemmed and hawed over getting them flu shots. Eventually, I decided to go ahead with it, because there’s a much greater chance of them dying from the flu than from vaccine-related complications.

After hearing this story and reading some of the statistics for pediatric flu-related deaths, I will gladly and happily get my kids vaccinated against the flu each year. It’s not a 100 percent safeguard, but it’s the best preventative measure we have available right now.

Have your kids been vaccinated for the flu?


Image via Daniel Paquet/Flickr

in the news, kid health, toddler health, sick days

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Karma... KarmasEvilTwin

What a tragic occurence. My heart is with them. ~Where is your proof of your claims Wonderwoman? A small percentage of people develop severe allergic reactions within a few minutes to a few hours after vaccination. Flu shots do not give you the flu. The virus is an inactive virus which induces an autoimmune response from the body to produce antibodies against the virus. To insinuate the child died due the a result of nutritional negligence resulting in a weakened immune system is libellous against the parents of the child.  If you believe flu vaccine symptoms go under-reported, read your vaccination fact sheet given by your doctor at the time of vaccination. There is a self-reporting number listed on every publication. Your own words are based on loose claims and personal beliefs that somehow give you the illusion that you are the authority on the subject and are thus justified in passing judgement on this dear angel's parents. 

nonmember avatar andie

@wonderwoman, for you to suggest that this beautiful little girl's death was somehow caused by nutritional inadequacies is criminal. You know nothing about this child or her family. As Jenny said in the original article, the flu vaccine isn't perfect, but it's the best defense we have. And you are many times more likely to die from the flu than from the flu vaccine. As Karmas said, look at the fact sheet that your pediatrician gives you at the time the vaccine is administered. You don't know what you are talking about, and your irresponsible and foolish claims may cause another parent to skip a flu shot, leading to illness or possibly death of their own dear child.

LostS... LostSoul88

Yet another push to do the flu vaccine. "Flu-like symptom" are different then the actual flu. Is doesnt state what she really died from. I will NEVER get my child that vaccine, it does more harm then good. I vaccinate my kids, they get liek 90% of their vaccines besides the couple I don't trust and done my research on. 

moons... moonshooby

Everyone I know that received the flu vaccine this season got the flu. The ones that did not get the vaccine did not get the flu. Make sense of that!

nonmember avatar Greta

Yep we got it.

Blues... Blueshark77

I received the vaccine in my 2nd trimester. I've never had the flu in the years when I received the vaccine. I would vax my kids too during a bad flu year like this year. I read a lot of comments on other sites from people who say the only people they know with the flu received the vaccine. I've never known anyone who had that problem or anyone who personally knew someone with that problem. 

miche... micheledo

I am curious as to why the child died. I get that it was thenflu, but what causes one to die and not the other? Does the virus attack their heart or something eles life threatening? What makes a mild case kill one person? And, getting the flu shot does not prevent one from dying from the flu! Ultimately, we all have to decide what is best and can we live with our decision - no matter the outcome? We have never gotten flu shots, and this year we got the flu! Everyone in our town has it. It doesn't seem to matter if you had tue flu shot or not.

Allis... AllisonWD

I seriously considered skipping the flu shot for myself and my children, and am so thankful I decided to go on and get it. Never thought I'd say this, but I am enjoying your articles lately, Jenny, and find myself agreeing with you more and more.

Samantha Muscia

I absolutely got my daughter vaccinated this year. She turned 1 in October and at her 1 year appointment, she got the first half and one month later the 2nd half. I have no problem with vaccines, they are the best thing we can do for our children. Why risk them dying from a preventable disease?? I never got the flu shot before I had my daughter, but all of us do now. It is not worth the risk to not get it!

EarlG... EarlGrayHot

That is simply not true.  Flu is the killer and being healthy is not going to save you if the flu come calling.  Please listen to health officials and get your flu shot.  There are occasionally people who do have a bad reaction to something in the vaccine but that is rare.  There is simply no evidence that the modern flu vaccine or any other vaccine is dangerous for the vast majority of people.  None.  Zip.  Get vaccinated.

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