Were More Than Half of the Kids with Severe or Fatal Influenza in California Last Year Vaccinated?

We know that the flu is deadly and that most kids who die with the flu aren’t vaccinated.

Would it be news to anyone if Bob Sears was pushing misinformation about pediatric flu deaths in California?
Would it be news to anyone if Bob Sears was pushing misinformation about pediatric flu deaths in California?

That’s likely why some folks might have been surprised when Dr. Bob Sears said that “half of the patients admitted to ICUs for severe or (eventually) fatal cases of influenza last year were vaccinated.”

He seemed to be citing a news report from the California Department of Public Health.

Were More Than Half of the Kids with Severe or Fatal Influenza in California Last Year Vaccinated?

So what did the report from CDPH actually say?

“Influenza vaccination information was available for 455 (47.8%) of the 952 adult cases reported with severe or fatal influenza; 211 (46.4%) received the 2017–2018 influenza vaccine. One hundred twenty (64.2%) of the 187 reported pediatric cases >6 months of age had influenza vaccination information available; 61 (50.8%) received the 2017–2018 influenza vaccine.”

Influenza Surveillance Report 2017–2018 Season

When you do the math, you quickly see that only 61 of 187 kids, or 33% of the pediatric patients were known to be vaccinated.

The numbers are even lower for adults with severe or fatal flu – only 211 of 952 adults, or 22% were known to be vaccinated.

Melissa Floyd does not seem to understand basic epidemiology.
Melissa Floyd does not seem to understand basic epidemiology.

So the majority of kids and adults were either unvaccinated or their vaccination status was unknown. While an unknown vaccinated status doesn’t mean that they weren’t actually vaccinated, it certainly doesn’t mean that they were.

What about the idea that these vaccinated patients would “eventually” turn into fatal cases, as Dr. Bob posted?

Although there were 18 fatal pediatric flu cases in California during the 2017-18 flu season, and that is more than any of us want to see, it should be clear, with 194 non-fatal ICU cases, that most severe cases weren’t eventually fatal.

Hopefully it isn’t a newsflash to anyone that most kids who die with the flu aren’t vaccinated.

More on Flu Deaths in California

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2 thoughts on “Were More Than Half of the Kids with Severe or Fatal Influenza in California Last Year Vaccinated?

  1. This article claims that the report from Bob Sears skewed the numbers, thewn proceced to skew the numbers in the opposite direction. Pathetic. All we know for sure from the CDPH data is that of the flu patients who’s vaccination status was known, that slightly less than half were vaccinated in the adults and a little more than half in the children. Clearly this is an indication that the vaccine is not very effective. Add the known adverse effects, and it becomes clear that the flu vaccine is not the best choice to protect our health and should be discontinued.

  2. Follow up: leaving the people who’s vaccination status is unknown OUT of this is the only way to use the data to assess the vaccine’s effectiveness. Using the known status samples we learn that it was only around 50% effective for this group of individuals who ended up with severe or fatal cases. Another way to put is 50% failure to protect. Considering the risk that vaccines pose and the many reported adverse effects, I don’t think any fully informed parent would let their child get this vaccine.

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