Conn. offering free flu vaccine to all children

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut is expanding free flu vaccinations to all children six months through 18 years old because of widespread illness in the state.

Thursday's health department announcement said state already has been providing vaccinations to children under five, and to children 18 and under who aren't covered by private insurance.

The health department said there have been six flu deaths this season, all in people over 65 with underlying medical issues. The department said there have been 2,456 laboratory-confirmed flu cases and 467 flu-related hospitalizations. That's higher than the past two flu seasons.

Federal health officials say 20 flu-related child deaths have been reported nationwide this season, one of the worst totals this early in the year since the government began keeping track in 2004. About 100 children die in an average flu season.

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