MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida health officials say a child is the first death in this flu season.
The health department did not say where the child died after testing positive for influenza B. The child had not been vaccinated.
Health experts emphasize a flu shot is the best way to protect against the virus but some parents are still skeptical or misinformed about the vaccine.
Eric Teitel got his flu shot at his local Walgreens pharmacy. A doctor himself, he said he does whatever he can to stay healthy.
“The flu can be a very deadly disease especially as we get older,” he said. “There were a number of deaths last year during the flu season and I’d like not to die from the flu.”
Flu vaccines are recommended for anyone over 6 months of age, but a new national survey shows many parents question the safety and effectiveness.
Orlando Health reports 53% believe flu vaccines can cause children to get sick with flu while 34% believe the flu vaccine doesn’t work.
“You cannot get flu from the flu vaccine. This vaccine and others do not give you autism. Influenza vaccine is safe. Each year we have many of cases of influenza among children, and some of those children sadly die. And most of those children are unvaccinated,” said Dr. William Schaffner with Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Last year’s flu season was the deadliest in at least four decades, 80-thousand people died of the flu and its complications.
The time to get the flu vaccine is now. The Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone get vaccinated before the end of October.
“The flu virus is out there, it’s just getting started. You know, after you get vaccinated, it takes about ten days, two weeks, for your protection to build up,” Schnaffer.