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As Swine Flu Ebbs, Officials Stress Importance of Vaccine
Date:1/8/2010

ccine they need, Sebelius said.

Speaking during the teleconference, Alissa Kanowitz -- a board member of press conference sponsor Families Fighting Flu -- said that in 2004 her young daughter Amanda died from the flu only a couple of days after symptoms appeared.

Kanowitz and other parents who have lost children to influenza formed the advocacy group Families Fighting Flu. Its goal is to reduce the number of children who die and are hospitalized for flu "and to increase the number of children vaccinated annually," Kanowitz said.

The group has created Families Flu Vaccination Day on Jan. 13 as part of National Influenza Vaccination Week, she said. It is posting a variety of materials to educate children about flu on its web site.

Dr. Georgina Peacock is a Medical Officer Senior Service Fellow at the Prevention Research Branch of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, part of the CDC. Speaking at Friday's teleconference, she said that, "the majority of flu cases that have occurred this year have been due to the novel H1N1 flu."

Among other symptoms, such as fever, aches and breathing problems, the H1N1 flu can cause diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to severe dehydration.

People should be vaccinated for both the H1N1 flu and the "regular" seasonal flu, she said. Both vaccines are safe and made in the same way and been given to millions of people without any serious side effects, Peacock said. Because the injected vaccine is made from a killed virus, "you can't get the flu from the flu shot," or from the nasal spray vaccine, which has a weakened form of the virus, she added.

"Anyone who wants to reduce the chances of getting seasonal or 2009 H1N1 flu should get vaccinated," Peacock said.

If you have already had a confirmed case of the H1N1 flu, you probably can get by without getting vaccinated, Peacock said, but if you just think you have had the
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