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Scientists Prove (Again) That Flu Shots Keep Kids From Dying

Flu vaccinations can protect a child from death, but some parents are still opting out.

The science is more solid than ever. New research from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal demonstrates that kids who get a flu shot are significantly less likely to die from flu and its complications. The study examined the cases of 358 kids, ages 6 months through 17 years — all of whom died flu-associated deaths between the years of 2010 to 2014.

More: Having a child with flu is far worse than having flu yourself

Researchers were able to determine vaccine status for 291 of these deaths, and of the children who died, 74 percent had not received a flu shot.

For healthy kids, a flu shot meant reduced risk of flu-associated death by almost two-thirds: 65 percent.

For high-risk kids (with blood disorders, heart disorders or asthma, for instance), a flu shot lowered flu death risk by half.

More: How to make your child’s flu shot a little less scary

So what are the CDC guidelines on vaccinating kids against flu? They tend to vary from year to year, but the CDC recommends that all children over the age of 6 months get vaccinated. Keep in mind that the vaccination can take several weeks to hit peak immunity in a child’s system, so earlier is better. And if your child is getting vaccinated for the first time, they will most likely require two doses 28 days apart. (Sorry, flu-shot first-timers.)

And even though spring is (supposedly) here, it’s not too late to get the flu shot — for you or your child. Better late than never, always, when it comes to protecting yourself and your kids from the flu.

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