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Record Number of Americans Got Flu Shots, CDC Says
Date:4/29/2010

Concerns about H1N1 flu likely motivated people to get vaccinated, experts say

THURSDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Apparently spurred by concerns about the recently discovered H1N1 swine flu virus, a record number of Americans -- especially children and younger adults -- got seasonal flu shots during the just-concluded flu season, U.S. health officials reported Thursday.

The increases in seasonal flu vaccinations -- which did not offer protection against H1N1 flu -- were largely driven by public programs instituted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get children and others to receive a seasonal flu shot, as well as the H1N1 vaccine. For the first time, children 5 to 18 were encouraged to get a flu shot this past flu season, CDC officials reported in the April 30 issue of the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

CDC officials said the 2010-2011 seasonal flu shot will include a component to protect against the H1N1 flu. Unlike traditional seasonal flu, the H1N1 flu -- first identified last spring -- strikes children and young adults harder than older adults.

"We are hopeful that those who were vaccinated this year will come back and get vaccinated for next season's flu," said study co-author Gary Euler, who's with the CDC's National Immunization Program.

Vaccination rates for the 2009-2010 flu season varied state-to-state, particularly among children. Coverage of children averaged 40 percent, compared to 24 percent for the 2008-2009 flu season.

Rates remained stable among recommended adult age groups: 36 percent for people 18 to 49 years of age with high-risk conditions, 45 percent for people 50 to 64, and 68 percent for people 65 and older, the report found.

Among younger adults who did not have high-risk conditions, vaccine coverage averaged 28 percent, seven points higher than last year, the researchers noted.

Euler said that
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