Teen's Tragic Death From Flu Shows Vaccines Are Important for all Ages

Heartbreaking 21

vaccineThink vaccines are only an issue for mothers of young kids to debate? Doctors who had to watch a seemingly healthy teenage boy die of the flu in Wisconsin this week would disagree. Max Schwolert was a 17-year-old athlete in great shape, but the flu ravaged his body, killing him in mere days.

The tragedy has renewed the call for parents of teenagers to pay attention to the vaccines their kids need. After all, bring up the word "vaccine" among a group of mothers of young children, and you'll darn near start a war. Bring immunizations up among parents of teens, on the other hand, and you might get a half-hearted argument at best.

I get it: the baby and toddler years are so jam-packed with shots that it's hard to keep them all straight. And there are all these controversies about mercury this and autism that. At that point you kind of can't help but talk about it every time you're in the same room as another mother.

But I've noticed this dichotomy between the two groups of parents, and although I don't have a teenager (yet), I am hellbound not to get complacent. Just because there are fewer shots to deal with when our kids get bigger doesn't mean we can suddenly just stop caring.

We're still talking about doing the best for our kids. We're still taking life and death. And if a dead teenager doesn't drive that one home, I'm not sure what does.

Doctors say they don't know if Schwolert's life would have been saved by the flu shot. But that hasn't stopped them from using his death as a warning for parents. They say that kids need to get them because even one life saved is worth it.

The CDC, by the way, recommends everyone 6 months and up should get a flu shot. EVERYONE.

So, are you making your kid's appointment yet?


Image via DFID - UK Department for International Development/Flickr

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cleig... cleigh717

Very sad but I still think the odds r in our favor to not get it. Its a difficult vaccine for humans to process and my kids get all the other "questionable ingredient" vaccines. I feel for their family. Well wishes to them.

purpl... purpleflower514

Nope because I do not respone to scare tactics.

blunt... bluntcakes

im all for vaccinating your children...or not. ive never received a flu shot im 23 and in good health i rarely get sick to the point i cant function. while i do belive that people with auto-immune disorders need it, others simply dont. but towards the end youre basically telling parents that since theres no known way to find out if she would be alive thanks to the vaccine that they should have their kids get one anyway. PS im not killing my own norma flora to give you peace of mind my natural defenses are working just fine and in a way i thank public transport for that.

Keran... Kerannmer

I'm with purple flower: This is a complete scare tactic. Like the doctor said, even he doesn't know if the vaccine would have saved the teen or not.

I got the flu shot, once,  7 years ago and ended up in the hospital for almost two weeks; I was near death for a few days. It wasn't a "reaction" from the shot...it WAS the shot. Coincidentally, it was and has been the only time I have been sick in the last 15 years.

My husband and daughter don't get the shot, and we are, by far, the healthiest family I know.

jagam... jagamama0710

Nope because I do not respone to scare tactics.


Missi... MissiQuinn

Plenty of people choose not to take the flu vaccine because it is not well tested. They make a new vaccine every year using their best guess about what the big strains will be. Having the vaccine does not mean that you will not get the flu, it means you have decreased chance of getting the three strains of flu included in the vaccine. It's insane that they push this drug on young children and pregnant women when the people who make the vaccine advise against it. I will not be giving anyone in my family a drug that would be classed as experimental if they used the same guidelines attached to other medicines. I'd advise people to research before the get one. Stories like this are propaganda at best.

nonmember avatar kevobx

Doctors do not take flu shots, why? What ever happen to the bird flu? Did it fly away to another culture.

nonmember avatar kevobx

Why is the flu shot free? And other vaccines must be paid for at the people's expense.

Megan... MeganJune03

My MIL got the flu shot in 1976 (when she was 16) and contracted guillain barre.  She was in the hospital for months learning how to do everything all over again. My husband nor his sister ever got the flu shot.  I got it last year by mistake. I was supposed to get a steroid shot for an allergic reaction. Well the flu shot didn't do anything to me so I got one this year.  Will my 2 year old ever get one? I highly doubt it. I didn't get it when I was pregnant with her. To me it's not worth the risk.

the4m... the4mutts

I will never, and my children will never, get a flu shot. I put it in my kids' medical file that if the dr called me about it ONE MORE FRIGGIN TIME, that I was going to drop their insurance like a bad habit & sue for harassment. They called me every few days for over a month, until I finally had to go above their heads, and switch drs.

The flu shot is not allowed in my house, neither is anyone who has gotten a flu shot until their 72hr "shedding" period is over.

I have never gotten more sick in my LIFE than my son & I got from catching swine flu from the damn swine flu vaccine 3yrs ago.

Never again.

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