Thursday, September 20, 2007

Enough Flu Vaccination to Go Around - Just Do It

The Centers for Disease Control announced that for the 2007 - 2008 flu season, there are plenty of vaccinations to go around. According to CDC:

Every year, flu infects up to 20 percent of the population, causes the hospitalization of 200,000 people and kills 36,000.

People 65 and older are most likely to get vaccinated, 69 percent during the 2005-2006 flu season, the latest count available.

But that's still well under the national goal of vaccinating 90 percent of seniors — even though Medicare provides flu shots for free.

Just over a third of 50- to 64-year-olds are getting vaccinated, and just 30 percent of high-risk younger adults, CDC found.

The vaccine is recommended for anyone over 50 or under 5; people of any age who have asthma, heart disease, weakened immune systems or other chronic illnesses; and pregnant women.

From personal experience this past season, I diagnosed more confirmed flu cases that in the past. The impact of flu vaccination became clear when I examined one patient, in his late 30s who was vaccinated, feel well in a day or two despite having the flu and then saw others in their early 20s, who weren't vaccinated, feel miserable, bed bound, and wanting to die (they didn't of course). On follow-up, the latter group all without hesitation planned on getting the flu shot this fall.

Perhaps you should to, especially if you are a health care provider.

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