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3 more children die of flu as vaccine uptake lags

November 11, 2022

Three more children have died of the flu in the past week, bringing the total to five reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this season.

Influenza activity continues to spread around the country, especially in the southeastern and south-central areas, followed by the mid-Atlantic and south-central West Coast regions, according to CDC data for the week ending Nov. 10.

There have been at least 2.8 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations and 1,300 deaths from flu. More than 6,000 patients were admitted to hospitals in the past week alone.

The highest rates of hospitalizations are in children and older adults.

Health officials are expressing concern that flu vaccine uptake is lagging, despite the early start to the influenza season and the co-circulation of other respiratory illnesses, especially respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and SARS-CoV-2.

Flu vaccine coverage among children is down 6 percentage points from two years ago, the CDC said. In addition, coverage among pregnant people is significantly lower compared to this time last season even though they have a higher risk of severe flu.

A new study found women who received a flu vaccine during pregnancy had a lower risk of certain negative birth outcomes such as fetal death (stillbirth), preterm birth and low birthweight.

“These findings further support the value of flu vaccination in pregnant people,” the CDC noted in a news release.

Lab specimens positive for influenza in the past week rose to 12.8%, up from 9% the previous week. While most of the viruses detected so far this season have been influenza A(H3N2), about 30% of the subtyped influenza A viruses have been influenza A(H1N1) viruses.

The CDC, AAP and other medical organizations urge everyone 6 months and older to receive flu vaccine as soon as possible.



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