A school-aged child died in Placer County hospital from the flu. Health officers are urging people to get vaccinated. | TheUnion.com

A school-aged child died in Placer County hospital from the flu. Health officers are urging people to get vaccinated.

On New Year’s Eve, a school-aged child in Placer County died from the flu in a hospital, according to a press release.

Health officials declined to say whether the child was vaccinated, for fear of violating privacy laws. However, since the death Placer and Nevada county health officers have been urging people to get the flu vaccination if they haven’t already.

A 2018 research paper by the Journal of Pediatrics found that young children, especially infants under 6 months, are most vulnerable to death due to infection from the influenza virus.

“Kids under five are more at risk for getting complications from the flu” in addition to individuals with neurological or heart problems, said Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson.

Sisson encouraged people to get annual flu vaccinations because the virus changes over time. It is not yet safe for infants under 6 months to get the vaccination, she said.

All other individuals, however, should get the vaccine in order to adhere to a “cocooning effect,” said Sisson, which is when individuals get the vaccine to protect those who don’t or can’t.

People should get the flu vaccination by October, but have until April or May to do so if they haven’t already, said Sisson.

“So basically, it’s not too late,” she added.

Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Ken Cutler said he doesn’t know how many county residents get the flu vaccination because people can receive it from a myriad of different spaces.

For those who do get the vaccination, Cutler said it reduces the “risk of having to go to the doctor with the flu by about 40% or so.”

Nevada County kindergarten students have some of the lowest vaccine immunization rates — not exclusively for the influenza virus — in the state.

California in general is struggling to vaccinate its 18 to 64 year olds, said Sisson, noting that only 36.8% of people in that age group received the flu vaccination during the 2018-19 year.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.

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