(WXYZ) — The state health department has confirmed the first two pediatric flu deaths in Michigan.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the deaths involve children from Shiawassee and Wayne counties who were infected with Influenza B.
This year, there have been 32 influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported in the country.
“These tragic deaths are a reminder of how serious influenza can be,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “I urge all Michiganders ages 6 months and older to get their flu shots if they have not already done so this season. It is not too late.”
Michigan has experienced widespread flu activity oer the past two weeks, a majority of which have been Influenza B.
Last year, there were an estimated 34,200 deaths from the flu. In Michigan, four children died due to flu-related complications, and 136 nationally.
"MDHHS strongly recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine. Flu vaccine is the best way to prevent against getting the flu and can also reduce the severity of flu illness. During the 2018-2019 flu season, only 46.1 percent of Michigan residents were vaccinated against flu, below the national rate of 49.2 percent," the health department said in a release.
It takes up to two weeks after the vaccine before the body builds up enough immunity to prevent the flu.
There is still plenty of flu vaccine available, the state said.