HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With record supplies of influenza vaccine expected to be available this season, state Health Secretary Dr. Calvin B. Johnson today urged Pennsylvanians -- especially those in high- risk groups -- to protect themselves against illness by getting a flu shot.
"The flu is still a very serious illness, especially for older Pennsylvanians, children and individuals with certain medical conditions," explained Dr. Johnson. "Based on reports from manufacturers, more than 132 million doses of flu vaccine will be available this season in the United States. There will be plenty of vaccine, so Pennsylvanians should talk to their doctor now about getting a flu shot."
Each year, an estimated 36,000 individuals die from influenza-related illnesses and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized nationwide. Rates of serious illness and death are highest among persons over the age of 65 and individuals of any age who have chronic medical conditions that place them at increased risk for complications from influenza.
Last year, Pennsylvania's flu season began in October and peaked mid March. Although the flu season was mild last year, that does not mean individuals will be protected this year. The virus changes year to year, therefore yearly vaccination is highly recommended.
The influenza vaccine is recommended for:
-- All children 6-59 months of age;
-- People over 50 years of age regardless of their medical history;
-- Residents of long-term care facilities;
-- People with underlying health conditions such as heart, respiratory,
metabolic, and immune system problems;
-- People with certain muscle or nerve disorders (such as cerebral palsy
or seizure disorders) that can lead to breathing or swallowing
-- People with weakened immune system such as: HIV/AIDS, long-term
treatment of steroids, and cancer treatment with x-rays or
|SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health|
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