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Kentucky children dead from flu, COVID-19

By: - January 11, 2024 5:41 pm

People who get COVID-19 shots may experience flu-like symptoms afterward. That’s normal, says Dr. Hugh Shoff, and it’s a “good thing.” (Getty Images)

A Kentucky child has died from COVID-19 and another from flu, the first deaths of minors for each illness this season, the Kentucky Department of Public Health announced Thursday. 

Both children were unvaccinated against their respective viruses, according to the department. It’s unclear how old they were or where in the state they were located. 

“Influenza and COVID-19 are serious illnesses that unfortunately can be deadly for some people, including young children,” Dr. Steven Stack, the state’s public health commissioner, said in a statement. “It is important for people who have not been vaccinated to get their updated influenza and COVID-19 vaccines this season, along with other recommended immunizations, to protect themselves.”

To find a vaccine by ZIP code, visit https://www.vaccines.gov. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone starting at 6 months old get annual flu and COVID-19 shots. 

State data shows Kentucky hospitalizations for influenza are currently high. COVID-19, flu and RSV levels are elevated. Respiratory illnesses “have been elevated above baseline levels for the fifth consecutive week,” the KDPH said. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, loss of taste or smell and difficulty breathing, among other things, according to the CDC. Flu symptoms include fever, sore throat and coughing, among others.

This story may update.

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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.

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