It also highlights a fact that many parents may not know: "Healthy children can, and do, die of the flu", said Offit, who was not involved in the research.
She said fortunately, "this year's flu vaccine matched up pretty well with the flu types that were circulating in the community".
Health experts said that while getting vaccinated does not provide 100 percent protection, it does reduce the likelihood of death from flu by 65 percent. Deaths were reported from 43 states, New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C., and included children aged 6 months through 17 years. "Say a vaccine is 90% effective". For influenza B, this season's efficacy is about 73%. Three of those deaths were attributed to influenza A (H3N2), two were attributed to influenza A viruses without subtyping, and one was attributed to influenza B. However, the data also shows that there has been a notable decline in vaccinations among adults older than 50 with influenza-related hospitalizations increasing for those older than 64 percent. "There's a season with mild flu [2011-12], seasons with more severe flu, and seasons where either H1N1 or H3N2 dominated".
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"In most seasons, influenza activity peaks a second time in about early March, but it seems to have been delayed until now this season", CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said, adding that the total number of cases rose by about 2,380 last week.
"This study is a first step that looks at lab-confirmed flu deaths and how well the vaccine prevents those", said Jackson.
Since 2004-2005, flu-related deaths in children reported to CDC during regular flu seasons ranged from 37 (during 2011-2012) to 171 (during 2012-2013) depending on the severity of the season. In some years, it has been more effective than injected vaccines, probably because it uses a "live" but weakened virus strain, which is usually more effective than other vaccine types.
Ben Locwin, PhD, MBA, MS, is a contributor to the Genetic Literacy Project and is an author of a wide variety of scientific articles in books and magazines.