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AARP Reminds All People 50-Plus to Get a Flu Shot This Year
Date:10/1/2007

'That little pinch in the arm can help save 36,000 lives this year.'

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- October brings the beginning of flu season, which will put up to 200,000 Americans in the hospital this year. But the flu is easily prevented with an inexpensive vaccination. AARP is urging all Americans 50-plus to get flu shots before the virus begins its annual spread.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070209/NYF043LOGO )

"Vaccine shortages got a lot of people out of the habit of getting flu shots," said Dr. Byron Thames, a member of AARP's Board of Directors. "Now that we have plenty of vaccine, it's time for people 50-plus to get their shots. It's an easy and inexpensive way to take responsibility for your own health and for your loved ones," he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report a record-setting vaccine supply for the 2007-2008 flu season, allowing all Americans at high risk for complications from the flu to get the necessary shot. While flu shots are still effective as late as January, those at risk are urged to get their shots now and prevent the virus before it strikes.

Dr. Thames also pointed to the critical need for caregivers to get vaccinated. "Many Baby Boomers are caring for their children, their grandchildren and even their parents. Getting a flu shot not only protects you, but also helps protect those you are caring for," he said.

Vaccination rates are too low, said Dr. Thames, particularly among 50 to 64-year-olds. "Only about a third of people in that group get vaccinated, even though they are at high risk for flu-related complications. Preventing the flu has huge implications: That little pinch in the arm can help save 36,000 lives this year," he said.

AARP found vaccination rates are even lower among older African Americans and Hispanics. A June 2007 study by A
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SOURCE AARP DC
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