Local health officials urge parents to vaccinate their children against the flu after two more Minnesota children with the illness died.

The Minnesota Department of Health announced Thursday that an 8-year-old and a 17-month-old were the latest to die, following an 8-year-old Ramsey County boy whose death was announced Jan. 31.

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None of the three children received a flu shot, the health department said.

MeritCare in Fargo has scheduled flu shot clinics for children seen by the health system's pediatricians. The dates are Feb. 13 and 14. Appointments are necessary.

Call (701) 234-3620 to make one. Parents whose child is seen by a MeritCare family medicine provider should call that clinic for an appointment.

Vaccinations for older children may be available at area public health clinics. For more information, call Clay County Public Health at (218) 299-7777 or Fargo-Cass Public Health at (701) 241-1360.

Children older than 6 months old can be vaccinated. Influenza is a respiratory illness.