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Seasonal Flu Vaccination Rates Still Too Low
Date:12/9/2009

o get vaccinated, according to the report.

Shortages of seasonal flu vaccine appear to account for the slowdown in vaccinations. In fact, 38 percent of adults looking to get vaccinated could not find any.

The importance of getting vaccinated cannot be overstated, Dr. William Schaffner, president-elect of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, said during the teleconference.

"This is a disease that causes 200,000 hospitalizations each year and 36,000 deaths," he said. "Anything we can do to provide protection against those complications is important."

The main reason that so many adults say they will not get vaccinated are misconceptions about the vaccine, Harris said.

"Overall, 60 percent of those who don't intend to be vaccinated this year pointed toward the possibility of becoming sick, experiencing side effects, not believing in vaccine or not needing vaccine," she said.

You can't get flu from the flu vaccine, Schaffner said. "That is categorically incorrect. It is an urban and rural myth that keeps circulating."

Schaffner urged adults to get vaccinated, noting that the seasonal flu usually peaks in February. So there is plenty of time to protect yourself from possible infection, he said.

Other findings in the report include:

  • People did not appear to be forgoing seasonal influenza vaccine because they were getting H1N1 flu vaccine.
  • Health-care providers were the best source of information about flu shots, according to 44 percent of vaccinated adults.
  • Unvaccinated adults relied on news reports rather than health-care providers for information about influenza vaccine.
  • Some 44 percent of adults with chronic diseases have been vaccinated.
  • Whites were more likely to be vaccinated, while Hispanics were the least likely to have been vaccinated.

In addition to adults, the U.S. Centers for Dise
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