City officials confirm child death from flu; urge vaccine

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK -

New York City officials confirmed Thursday the first child death from the flu this season and are pushing people to get the flu shot.

A few days ago, Ruta Stulgaite says she received an email from her oldest daughter's school that said she needed proof that 4-year-old Andrea got the flu shot. But her kids have not received the shot because she says she fears it would make them sick.

Stulgaite went to school with a note saying her daughter won't get the shot. She says she was told the child might have to leave the school.

Health officials say it's mandatory for kids between 6 months and 5 years old -- an age group most susceptible to infection -- to get the shot if they're enrolled in a city-regulated child care or school program. A Department of Education spokesperson tells News 12 that the policy was reinstated this year.

Karen Griffith, a pediatrician at New York City Health + Hospitals/Kings County, says the flu shot won't make you sick but may leave you feeling less than 100 percent well for a day or two. And while the vaccine doesn't protect against every single strain of the virus, she says it's your best bet for staying healthy.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, sore throat, cough and runny nose, and then progresses to body aches and joint pain.

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