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GTA mom launches flu shot campaign after toddler's death

Last Updated Oct 19, 2016 at 8:27 pm EST

Flu season is right around the corner, and one Mississauga mother who suffered an unbearable loss is hoping you think of her toddler when you decide whether or not to get vaccinated.

Jill Promoli’s two-year-old son Jude died from the flu in May. The mother of three says the toddler woke up early one morning with a low-grade fever. After she put him down for an afternoon nap, she says she found her usually bouncy baby boy unresponsive.

“He was a perfectly healthy kid, and then he’s just gone,” she said. “It didn’t make any sense to me. He was a healthy kid, he wasn’t showing any symptoms, and all three of our kids were vaccinated.”

Jude, his twin brother Thomas and older sister Isla got their flu shots in December of last year, and the news was shocking to Promoli when the autopsy report showed he died of the same strain he was vaccinated for.

“We did everything we could and that you’re supposed to to keep your children safe,” she said. “Unfortunately he was part of the percentage of people that the shots weren’t effective for.”

Now Promoli is on a mission to tell Jude’s story. Through her campaign For Jude, For Everyone, Promoli is hoping her story reaches as many people as possible and families start conversations about flu vaccinations.

“It was such a pointless loss of life in something that’s so preventable,” Promoli said. “As a community, we had not done enough to protect kids like Jude. And unfortunately we have paid the price for that, and he’s not here anymore.”

According to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, for this year’s flu season, the World Health Organization is recommending three strains be included in the dose, including H1N1 and H3N2.

A major component of Promoli’s campaign is to encourage more people to consider getting vaccinated. Even though getting the shot didn’t save her son, Promoli believes if more people around him were vaccinated, her son might still be alive today.

“Nothing can change what happened to Jude,” she said. “But we don’t want another family to go through the type of loss we experienced.”