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Health Officials Urge Americans: Get Your Flu Shot Now
Date:12/5/2011

season, almost half of pregnant women were vaccinated," Koh said. "Also, last year about half of our nation's children were vaccinated, and we saw no racial/ethnic disparities in vaccination coverage among minority children."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a survey last month to gauge how many people were getting vaccinated. For health care workers, the rate was 63 percent, a 7 percent increase over this time last year, Koh said.

Flu activity so far has been light, officials said, but that could change quickly, given the unpredictable nature of the disease.

"We are seeing only a little flu across the country right now, but that doesn't mean it isn't right around the corner," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, said during the news conference.

Thirty states have already reported cases of flu, she said, but flu season typically peaks in January and February. That's why it's a good time to get vaccinated now, before the flu season kicks into high gear, she added.

As of the first week in November, the CDC estimated that 36 percent of people 6 months of age and older had gotten a flu shot, Schuchat said. That's about 111 million people -- about 3.5 percent higher than last year, she said.

Although the number of adults who were vaccinated in November was about the same as last year, more children were vaccinated this year, Schuchat said. An estimated 62 percent of people aged 65 and older had been vaccinated as well, she added.

But, among those with chronic conditions, only 42 percent had been vaccinated by early November, Schuchat said. "That's very close to what we had seen last year," she noted.

Schuchat thinks many more people have been vaccinated since the survey, and others will get vaccinated as the season progresses. This year's vaccine is the same as last year's and seems to be a good match for the flu strains that are circulat
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