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Americans Urged To Get Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Early
Date:9/10/2009

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- With increased influenza activity anticipated this fall, U.S. public health officials and other leading medical experts today urged Americans to be vigilant and get immunized early for protection against seasonal influenza - a threat to Americans' health each and every year.

Seasonal influenza vaccine is already available in many communities and Americans should begin to get vaccinated now. Seasonal vaccine supply is expected to top 110 million doses this year. Every year more than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized from influenza complications and about 36,000 die from influenza-related causes.

"The single best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu is to get vaccinated each year," said Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). "Vaccination is the cornerstone of our prevention efforts. I will be receiving my flu vaccination later this week."

Secretary Sebelius spoke at a news conference sponsored by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) and held in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Medical Association (AMA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Physicians (ACP), AARP and National Influenza Vaccine Summit.

Experts said the best strategy for the upcoming influenza season is a concerted campaign to immunize Americans early against seasonal influenza, followed by immunization against the novel H1N1 virus when that vaccine becomes available later this fall.

"In all our concern about the novel H1N1 influenza, we must not let our guard down against seasonal influenza," said William Schaffner, MD, president-elect of NFID and chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. "It is critically impor
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SOURCE National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
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