Push for more effective vaccine after Norwalk child dies from flu complications

NORTH HAVEN & NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH)–Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro says the nation is experiencing a public health crisis, with rampant numbers of deaths from the flu. DeLauro is fighting for funding to develop a one-time, universal flu shot, much like something you would get for measles or tetanus.

Six-year-old Emma Splan loved ballet and painting. The first grader at Columbus Magnet School in Norwalk is now the latest face of a deadly flu epidemic. Her grief-stricken mother says her baby got a flu shot earlier in the season, but it wasn’t enough.

Related: 6-year-old Norwalk girl becomes 2nd Connecticut child to die from flu

“With the vaccine effectiveness around 25% to 50% – that’s not good enough,” DeLauro said. “Thousands of people are dying right now and I don’t think we can wait a minute longer.”

“In Connecticut we have also have a crisis and that is a serious public health emergency. We have 77 people who have died in the state,” she said.

The  Connecticut Department Of Public Health says the flu remains widespread, affecting more children than usual.

“As soon as they have symptoms and they suspect they might have the flu, they should call their doctor right away. Sometimes it’s the virus infection itself that can become so severe in a person that it can result in death,” said Dr. Alicia Fry.

Emma is the second child to die from the flu in Connecticut. 10-year-old Nico Mallozzi, also from Fairfield County, died five weeks ago.

The majority of flu deaths have been people 65 years and older.

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