East Hawaii News

Americans Urged to Remain Vigilant About Flu Shots

December 12, 2013, 3:01 PM HST
* Updated December 12, 3:02 PM
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Noting that the current flu season is proving to be particularly severe, federal health officials are encouraging Americans to get their flu vaccinations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today said that as of early November, only 40% of US residents age 6 months and older were reported to have received a flu vaccine.

That was about the same level of vaccinations during the last flu season, when there was an estimated 31.8 million influenza-related illnesses and 381,000 hospitalizations in the US.

Most of the estimated hospitalizations were in people 65 and older.

The CDC said seasonal influenza activity is increasing in parts of the nation, and further increases in flu are expected in coming weeks.

“If you have not gotten your flu vaccine yet this season, you should get one now,” said Dr. Schuchat of the CDC. “The bottom line is that influenza can cause a tremendous amount of illness and can be severe. Even when our flu vaccines are not as effective as we want them to be, they can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.”

National Influenza Vaccination Week, which runs from Dec. 8-14, was established in 2005 to underscore the importance of continuing flu vaccination during the flu season.

Peak weeks of influenza activity have occurred in January through March in more than 90% of seasons during the past 20 years, and significant circulation can occur as late as May, the CDC said.

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