According to the CDC, 186 children died from the flu last season.  Of those, 80 percent did not receive their flu vaccination. This is a startling and heartbreaking fact many of us need to hear right now.

Yes, 186 is a small number compared to the 49 million flu cases that resulted in 80,000 deaths last year…but I am talking about innocent children here.

My feed has been blowing up with vax-or-no-vax commentary. There are strong opinions and valid points to be made on both sides. I read it all, and I respect others’ viewpoints, but I have to weigh in on this one.

The flu kills otherwise healthy kids every year. It robs them of the gift of growing up. Death from the flu may seem like an impossibility, but it is very real. Again, 186 children died last year. If only one child died I would still feel like it was one too many.

When I was a health reporter back in the day, I interviewed a family grappling with the senseless loss of their beloved daughter from the flu. I see them in my mind every time I remotely entertain skipping the vaccine. I wish anti-vaxers could see them, too.

I cannot imagine the unrelenting pain of burying a child from an illness that may have been prevented with a shot. Can you?

I cannot imagine second guessing myself for eternity because I withheld the shot. Can you?

The flu shot is not perfect, but it’s an important part of the arsenal we have to fight the illness (hand-washing, disinfect common surfaces, drink water, etc.), in my opinion.

To me, there are 186 heartbreaking reasons to get vaccinated this year. What’s your take on this issue?