MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Slightly more Minnesota children received influenza vaccinations in the 2017-18 flu season compared to the previous season, according to the Centers for Disease Control, but the Minnesota Department of Health says too many children are still unvaccinated.

“Protecting slightly more Minnesota children from influenza last year is good news, especially given the lack of a no-shot, nasal spray option, but we still have too many children left unprotected from this potentially serious disease,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “The flu vaccine protects those who receive it as well as those in the community who cannot be vaccinated due to medical conditions.”

Approximately 62 percent of Minnesota children between the ages of 6 months old and 17 years old received vaccinations in the 2017-18 season. Estimates from the past two years were just over 60 percent. The national average is 57.9 percent, which is a decrease of 1.1 percent from the previous season.

More than 6,400 Minnesotans were hospitalized for influenza during last year’s flu season. According to CDC data, 74 percent of the 172 pediatric deaths nationwide in 2017-18 involved children who did not receive vaccinations.

The Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics says all children ages 6 months and older should receive flu vaccinations every year, by the end of October if possible.

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