The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has confirmed a second pediatric influenza death in Mississippi for the 2023-2024 flu season.
A pediatric death is defined as the death of an individual under 18 years of age. MSDH said the patient in this case had not received a flu vaccine for the 2023-2034 flu season.
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“We highly encourage people to get a flu shot. A vaccination won’t necessarily keep you from getting the flu, although it can reduce your risk of infection and is the best protection to keep you from a severe outcome,” said Interim State Epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Taylor. “With a few months left in this season, we recommend everyone six months of age and older consider a flu and COVID-19 vaccination.”
Flu season typically peaks in January through March in Mississippi.
Flu shots for those 18 and under who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program are available at County Health Departments. Insurance, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are also accepted for children’s flu shots. A list of all VFC providers can be found at msdh.ms.gov/vfc
Adults who are underinsured or uninsured and who meet certain high-risk criteria qualify for an adult flu vaccination at MSDH county health department clinics. Flu shots for insured adults are widely available through private physicians, pharmacies, and retail centers.
MSDH says that while vaccination is the best protection against flu, there are other things you can do to reduce the spread of flu whether you are vaccinated or not. These measures include:
-Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
-Stay at home when you or your children are sick.
-Wash your hands frequently and keep them away from your face.