Blazing hot news today! NBC’s favorite pharma whoo-a Maggie Fox has published a story about a new CDC study that claims that “most kids” who die of the flu are unvaccinated. This really is news to me since I have never– and I mean never, not once– read about a child flu death where the parents weren’t saying, “She had the flu vaccine, why did this happen?”
So, we’re told what? That 40,000 kids die of the flu every year or some such, right? Just an outrageous number comprised mostly of 105-year old nursing home patients with pneumonia.
But this study says that in the four years from the summer of 2010 to the summer of 2014, there were just 358 lab confirmed flu deaths in children aged 6 months to 17 years. Losing even one child to illness is a tragic event and I don’t mean to minimize any death when I point out that we are talking about 90 deaths per year in a country with 73 million kids under the age of 17. That’s a 1 in 800,000 statistic.
For whatever reason Maggie Fox linked to a story she wrote herself in 2013 rather than linking to the study, so make sure to click here to read the actual study itself.
Here’s what stood out the most during my reading of it.
Out of the 358 kids who died of the flu, 67 did not have medical records available, so the study is really about 291 kids.
Of these 291 kids who died of the flu, 75 were in the “vaccinated” category while 216 were in the “unvaccinated” category, which means, by CDC standards, 1/4 were vaccinated and 3/4 were not.
You’d assume “unvaccinated” means never vaccinated, right? Or at least never vaccinated for the flu? Nope. It turns out that if a child received the flu vaccine in previous years, but their medical record didn’t mention that season’s flu vaccine, they were automatically deemed to be “unvaccinated” by the CDC.
So if a seven-year old got a flu vaccine at four years old, five years old, and six years old and it’s in their record, but they didn’t get it when they were seven, they are “unvaccinated” for this study. Or, maybe their mom popped into Walgreens for the vaccine when they were seven, or they got the shot at school, and it didn’t make it into the record for whatever reason, they are also “unvaccinated” for the study. The CDC was not looking for “mom refused the flu shot” in the records before labeling a child “unvaccinated.”
Of the 291 kids who died of the flu, 153 were labeled “high risk” children because they had one or many serious underlying conditions such as chronic lung disease, heart disease, kidney or liver disorders, or neurological disorders like brain or spinal cord injuries. Almost 1/3 of these chronically ill children who died were vaccinated.
So now we’re down to talking about 138 kids who weren’t already in and out of the hospital all the time, which is not a very respectable number for a study.
Oh, wait! The authors also included asthmatic kids as “high risk” which sounds like a vaccine marketing ploy despite the 2012 study that discovered that asthmatic kids vaccinated for the flu were THREE TIMES more likely to end up hospitalized. But we don’t know how many of the kids who died had spinal tumors or congenital heart disease versus how many of the kids just had asthma.
Seven deceased vaccinated children were left out of the study because they had received the flu vaccine within two weeks of catching the flu and dying. Rather than considering the flu vaccine’s role in killing the child, the study authors claim that a vaccine given 14 days ago is life-saving while a vaccine given 13 days ago is not.
My takeaway here is that 53% of the 291 children with vaccination records who died of lab-confirmed flu from 2010 to 2014 were probably so seriously ill with a chronic condition that any number of viruses that we don’t sell a vaccine for could have been fatal to them.
And that the “unvaccinated” category of children who passed away may have been vaccinated to the hilt for all we know, but they certainly don’t fit into the public’s understanding of what an unvaccinated child looks like, which would be a child who has never received a vaccine.