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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Urges Seniors to Get Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines
Date:1/26/2011

ATLANTA, Jan. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The seasonal flu can be very serious for everybody. So serious, in fact, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended that nearly everyone get a flu vaccine. This is particularly true for seniors (adults 65 and older).

As people age, it becomes more difficult for them to fight illness. As a result, older adults are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications, including pneumonia, hospitalization and even death. According to Flu.gov, a website collaboration of several government agencies, 90 percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 and older. Fortunately, seniors can take measures to protect themselves by being vaccinated against both the flu and pneumonia. With the flu season under way, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) is urging those 65 and older to get vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia.

"With few exceptions, there really is no reason for seniors not to get their vaccines, including their flu and pneumonia vaccines," said Dr. Robert McCormack, BCBSGa medical director. "Studies have shown that these vaccines are generally safe and effective. They are also easy to get and typically paid for by Medicare. Yet statistics show us that about a third of seniors don't get these much-needed vaccines. That's something we've got to change."

Following are some things BCBSGa wants seniors to know about vaccines and cold and flu season:

Double Dose: Even some people who get the flu vaccine forget to get the pneumonia vaccine. According to the CDC, seniors should really get both, and the good news is they can get them at the same time. However, there are some differences between the vaccines. The flu shot needs to be administered annually. This year's version includes protection against the 2009 H1N1 virus and two other flu viruses: Influenza A H3N2 and Influenza B. In contrast, m
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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia
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