Health officials urge getting flu shots now

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News and Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on September 26, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Updated Thursday, Sep 26 at 5:21 PM

U.S. health officials urged the public Thursday to get vaccinated now for the upcoming flu season.

"Don't hesitate. Vaccinate," said Dr. Howard Koh Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Officials revealed that more people received vaccinations last year in the U.S. than ever before. But they warn that this season could come early, although it’s unpredictable.

Last flu season was a stark reminder of how unpredictable and severe influenza can be, with the most pediatric deaths in the U.S. ever.

Flu vaccine is recommended for nearly everyone ages 6 months and older. Yet just 45 percent of the population followed that advice last year. Flu is particularly risky for seniors and kids. Two-thirds of adults 65 and older, and nearly 57 percent of children, were vaccinated last year.

This season could be more complicated when choosing a vaccination. For the first time, a Quadrivalent vaccine is available which protects against four separate strains of the flu as opposed to three.

There is also a new vaccine available for those with egg allergies.

Clinics say there is ample supply of the vaccine available. To find the nearest vaccine available to your home, use this online tool. You can also find more information on vaccines.gov.

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