In the last five weeks four children died from flu related illness, two of those on the Western Slope. Now health officials are saying this is the worst flu season in state in the last five years.
A flu shot was the last thing little Jazmin Kruckenberg wanted.
"She was not a happy camper, but it keeps her safe," says her mother Tessa Kruckenberg."I don't like shots but better safe than sorry."
In the last five weeks three toddlers and one infant died from flu related illnesses. Dr. Scott Rollins says its what flu turns into that causes problems. "What we tend to die from is pneumonia." Dr. Rollins says these deaths didn't have to happen. "The vaccine is not perfect but it will prevent this." Two of the children that died were only half way vaccinated, the other two did not receive any flu shots.
While many parents agree flu shots are a necessity, the reasons to get your child a flu shot are not always black and white.
"We heard that it could cause Autism and then that it could cause different kinds of things so we didn't want that to happen," says, mother Deanna Brooks. It took her some time to decide but eventually she made a choice to get her son Matthew vaccinated. "It could prevent him from getting sick or dying. In fact we have another one in two months right?" says Brooks.
Two of the four children that died lived on the Western Slope. The state Health Department is not releasing their location to protect the families.
Local officials say it underscores the importance of getting vaccinated.
"Just doesn't seem to have a punch anymore but this is a very sad reminder that it can cause death," says Kristy Emerson with the
Mesa County Health Department. The county recommends young children, elderly and people with certain health risks get a flu shot every year, something Jazmin's mom says she will do. "She didn't want to be but I definitely wanted her to, she got them all at once," says Kruckenberg.
Officials say anyone with children under six months or anyone who takes care of children under six months of age should get a flu shot as well.