Less Than Half of Americans Got Their Flu Shots Last Year

Less Than Half of Americans Got Their Flu Shots Last Year

Flu vaccine rates were stagnant overall in the United States during the 2016-17 season, prompting health officials to urge people to get vaccinated before the unpredictable virus kicks into gear. On Thursday, HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, was publicly vaccinated against influenza to highlight the importance of vaccination.

"As a pediatric nurse practitioner I often hear parents say "Oh, it's just the flu", Stintchfield said". Only about 47% of the population was vaccinated against influenza a year ago. "Which are pretty good odds". But pharmacies have already been advertising the shots for weeks in some neighborhoods.

When: Tuesday, October 3 from 10 a.m.to 1 p.m.

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"We've got a lot of room for improvement", Price said. Children six months and older can receive a flu vaccination and it is recommended for high-risk individuals, including those under the age of five, adults 65 and older, women who are pregnant and people with chronic health conditions.

"Flu is complicated and there's no easy answer-we don't have a once in a lifetime vaccine, it's not like measles where two doses of measles vaccines, you're protected for life in 95 percent of the cases", says Richard Zimmerman, who studies vaccines and their use at the University of Pittsburgh. There are a few people who should not get vaccinated. "I mean, I might get one, but it hasn't really crossed my mind", said Isaac Whatley.

What are other ways we can reduce our chances of getting sick? "It's like just an bad feeling".

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If you do become sick with a cold or flu virus, or any other contagious illness, please be respectful of others and stay home. Australia, which experiences its flu season in summer because it's in the southern hemisphere, has been hard hit this year.

The CDC, as well as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, recommend pregnant women get a flu vaccine during any trimester of their pregnancy.

"Each flu season, flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of deaths", Price said.

Symptoms of flu include quick onset of high fever (more than 101 degrees), dry cough, fatigue and body aches. All at greater risk of contracting, even dying, from the flu.

In addition to the vaccination, you can help fend off the flu by keeping your immune defenses strong.

"Whether it be somebody with a newborn baby or an elderly grandparents or somebody at church that has immunosuppression maybe from cancer or something like that, so you do, you know, not only just to protect yourself but to protect everyone around you", said Robinson.

Prof Murphy said that now only around 70% of eligible Australians take up the offer of a free vaccine through the National Immunisation Program.