JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Officials with the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported the first confirmed pediatric influenza death in Mississippi for the 2023-2024 flu season.

According to MSDH, pediatric deaths are defined as deaths of individuals under 18 years of age.

Including this reported death, there have been a total of 25 pediatric flu deaths reported in Mississippi since pediatric flu deaths became reportable in the 2008-2009 flu season. Flu season typically peaks in January through March in Mississippi.

“Vaccination is the best protection against flu and the severe outcomes from flu infection.” said interim State Epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Taylor, “All individuals six-months of age and older are recommended to get an updated flu and COVID-19 vaccine this season.”

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 www.HealthyMS.com/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.

Here are other ways to reduce the spread of flu:

  • Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing
  • Stay at home when you or your children are sick
  • Wash your hand frequently