We know that kids die from the flu, not just this year, but every year.
In fact, on average, just over 100 kids die of the flu each year!
The flu is a terrible disease.
How Many Kids Die from the Flu?
The CDC started to track pediatric flu deaths in the fall of 2004, when it became nationally reportable. This followed a particularly bad 2003-04 flu season (H3N2-predominant), during which the CDC got reports of 153 pediatric deaths from only 40 states.
Since then, the number of pediatric flu deaths has ranged from a low of 37, during the 2011-12 flu season, to a high of 288 deaths during the swine flu pandemic.
- 2004-05 flu season – 47 pediatric flu deaths
- 2005-06 flu season – 46 pediatric flu deaths
- 2006-07 flu season – 77 pediatric flu deaths
- 2007-08 flu season – 88 pediatric flu deaths (H3N2-predominant)
- 2008-09 flu season – 137 pediatric flu deaths
- 2009-10 flu season – 288 pediatric flu deaths (swine flu pandemic)
- 2010-11 flu season – 124 pediatric flu deaths
- 2011-12 flu season – 37 pediatric flu deaths
- 2012-13 flu season – 169 pediatric flu deaths (H3N2-predominant)
- 2013-14 flu season – 111 pediatric flu deaths
- 2014-15 flu season – 147 pediatric flu deaths (H3N2-predominant)
- 2015-16 flu season – 94 pediatric flu deaths
- 2016-17 flu season – 110 pediatric flu deaths (H3N2-predominant)
- 2017-18 flu season – 185 pediatric flu deaths (H3N2-predominant)
- 2018-19 – 143 pediatric flu deaths (H3N2-predominant)
So far, this year, there have been 32 flu deaths in children.
Are Vaccinated Children Dying from the Flu?
This year’s flu season hasn’t gotten started yet, so we don’t know what will happen. Hopefully, more folks will get vaccinated and we will have a milder flu season.
Still, we can expect pediatric flu deaths, and like previous flu seasons, we know that:
- many of them will be otherwise healthy, without an underlying high risk medical condition
- half will be between 5 to 17 years old
And most of them will be unvaccinated.
“During past seasons, approximately 80% of flu-associated deaths in children have occurred in children who were not vaccinated. Based on available data, this remains true for the 2017-2018 season, as well.”
CDC on How many flu-associated deaths occur in people who have been vaccinated?
And we also know that it isn’t too late to get a flu shot to get protected for the rest of this year’s flu season.
What to Know About Pediatric Flu Deaths
The flu vaccine isn’t perfect, but there is no denying the fact that year after year, most pediatric flu deaths are in kids who weren’t vaccinated.
More on Pediatric Flu Deaths
- CDC – Situation Update: Summary of Weekly FluView Report
- CDC – Disease Burden of Influenza
- CDC – How many flu-associated deaths occur in people who have been vaccinated?
- Influenza Associated Pediatric Mortality Tool
- Ask the Experts About Influenza
- 90 percent of children who died from flu not vaccinated
- CDC Reports About 90 Percent of Children Who Died From Flu This Season Not Vaccinated
- Comment – Have you herd? Indirect flu vaccine effects are critically important
- Study: Vaccine halves risk of death from flu in kids
- Study – Influenza-Associated Pediatric Deaths in the United States, 2010–2016
- CDC – Study of Flu-Related Deaths in Children Shows Healthy Children at Risk
- AAP – Unvaccinated Children Accounted for Majority of Pediatric Flu Deaths from 2010-2014
- Study – Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Against Pediatric Deaths: 2010–2014
- Study – Influenza vaccine given to pregnant women reduces hospitalization due to influenza in their infants
- Study – Influenza Vaccination of Pregnant Women and Protection of Their Infants
- 147 Kids Died From Flu Last Year. My Scarlet Was One of Them
- Families Fighting Flu
- Young Hockey Player’s Death A Flu Warning
- 3 Things I’ve Learned Since Losing My Son to Flu
- A Mother’s Plea: Don’t Let Flu Steal Your Healthy Child
Updated January 4, 2019