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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Nevada Urges Seniors to Get Flu, Pneumonia Vaccines
Date:1/21/2011

s and two other flu viruses: Influenza A H3N2 and Influenza B. In contrast, most people will need to get the pneumonia vaccine only once, although under some circumstances a second dose may be given, according to the CDC. It is important for seniors to keep good records about their vaccination history, the CDC says.

Easy Does It: Getting vaccinated is easy for Medicare beneficiaries and their pocketbooks. Most people get the vaccines at their primary care physician's office. Additionally, many flu vaccine clinics open to the public are offered across the country. The costs of both vaccines and their administration are generally covered by Medicare Part B, as long as the provider accepts assignment.

Safety First: Flu shots are inactivated vaccines containing killed viruses -- they aren't live so they can't cause infection, according to flu.gov, a website collaboration of several government agencies. Manufacturers kill the viruses while making the vaccine and batches are tested to ensure safety. Similarly, the pneumonia vaccine is made from a bacterial component that is not infectious. In addition to the shots, there is a flu mist made from a weakened form of the virus, but it isn't recommended for seniors, according to the CDC.

"Many people fear they will get the flu or pneumonia from the vaccine and that just isn't the case, according to the CDC," said Art Jones, M.D., medical director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Nevada.

Never Too Late: It's a good idea to get the flu vaccine as soon as it's available, which is in the fall. However, since influenza activity typically doesn't peak until January or February, it's still a good idea to get the vaccine as late as December or January, and even beyond. National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) was established to highlight the importance of continuing vaccination later into the season. This year's NIVW was held Dec. 5–11. For its part, the pneumonia vaccin
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SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Nevada
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