CBSN

School holds prayer vigil for teen who died from flu

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- A touching prayer vigil was held Friday evening for 14-year-old Gabriella Chabot who died from the flu, CBS Los Angeles reports. Chabot would have celebrated her 15th birthday next week.

Hundreds of people paid their respects and remembered the vibrant young girl, who attended La Reina Middle & High School in Thousand Oaks. Friends, parents and teachers poured out of the vigil, many who were still coming to grips with losing a young member of the community.

"My granddaughter was in class with Gabriella," Sharon Hobbie told the station. "She was very good friends with her."

She added, "How does someone 14 get the flu this bad? She was a healthy, beautiful girl."

Throughout the day, students did their best to comfort one another. School officials said they will have grief counselors available in the days and weeks ahead.

The girl's father, Michael Chabot, mourned his daughter on Facebook.

"Today I experienced the day that no parent should," Chabot said. "I lost my daughter … my angel Gabriella Chabot. We are heartbroken. She would have been 15 on 2/16/18. I love you peanut! Papi will never forget you. You will always be my angel." 

Doctors have been sounding the alarms about getting flu shots this season.

"It's so tragic, and there is just a higher number, a higher occurrence of this happening," Dr. Carlos Reyes said. "Part of the complication, is that the vaccine is not covering all the different strains. That's one. And the treatment of flu has been limited by a couple of medications that aren't fully protective either."

Reyes encouraged anyone experiencing flu symptoms to immediately see their primary care physician.

Health officials on the East Coast are also battling the flu epidemic. On Friday, the New York City Health Department confirmed the third pediatric flu death of the season.

Across the country, doctors are seeing more cases, hospitalizations and deaths from flu, and there's no sign it's letting up. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 10 more pediatric flu deaths were reported last week, bringing the total to more than 60 children who have died from the flu so far this season.