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Study: Flu vaccine saves children's lives - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Study: Flu vaccine saves children's lives

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Westfield, N.J. -

A new study from the CDC shows getting the vaccine significantly reduces a child's risk of dying from the flu, and one family from New Jersey knows how serious the illness can be.

Jennifer Miller cherishes spending time with her daughter Caroline after almost losing her in 2012.

Late that December, Miller thought her five year-old was having an asthma attack.

"I was breathing really loudly -- kind of thing like it was kind of hard to breathe," Caroline said.

She was diagnosed with flu and pneumonia. Within 36 hours, she was on a ventilator and fighting for her life.

The Millers usually got annual flu shots, but life was busy and they just didn't get around to it. "It's tremendous guilt," Miller said. "She couldn't make her own appointment. That was my responsibility."

A new study in the journal Pediatrics shows the majority of children who die from the flu are not vaccinated. Researchers studied 291 pediatric flu deaths between 2010 and 2014. Three-quarter of the children who died did not have the vaccine. And 2/3 of kids with underlying health problems were not vaccinated. "Those children are more likely to have severe influenza if they do get sick, and more likely to die," said Dr. Brendan Flannery, an Epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Miller says her daughter suffers with mild asthma. "Not getting her flu shot was by far the greatest parenting mistake, and really the greatest mistake I have ever made in my life," she said.

She now works with the group Families Fighting Flu, and has made it her mission to make sure this doesn't happen to other families.

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