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Today's Flu News, December 10, 2010

Today's Flu News, December 10, 2010

USA Today, Sebelius: Everyone needs the flu vaccine
Minneapolis Star Tribune, One-third of Twin Cities kids have gotten flu shots
FierceVaccines, Fauci outlines universal flu vax challenges
Houston Chronicle, Doctors discount virus tales: Officials say '11 Day' flu strain likely just a cold
Medical News Today, You Could Have A Flu Christmas About You...Unless You Are Vaccinated

Holiday Health Guide: Cold, Flu & Allergies

MediaPlanet, December 10, 2010

Be sure to click the below link to read a special insert in today's USA Today that features FFF president, Richard Kanowitz's daughter, Amanda, who died from influenza in March 2004. Amanda's beautiful picture is on the cover of the guide and her story (and interview with Richard) is on page 6. This guide can be found in today's USA Today in the following cities: New York, Boston, Chicago, and Seattle. Here's the link -

Sebelius: Everyone needs the flu vaccine

USA Today, By Kathleen Sebelius, December 10, 2010

One of the best gifts you can give your family and friends during the holiday season is getting your flu shot. Every year, flu kills thousands of Americans and sends about 200,000 more to the hospital. Getting vaccinated is a safe, effective way to keep yourself healthy. And because we often get flu from the people around us, getting vaccinated is also the best way to protect your loved ones.
This year for the first time ever, the nation's top flu scientists have said that every American 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine. In past flu seasons, experts have recommended the vaccine for children, people at high risk for complications and those around them. But the H1N1 pandemic demonstrated that even healthy young adults can become severely ill from flu. So this winter, the guidance for you and your family is clear: Everyone needs to get vaccinated.

Off to good start

According to our latest data, one-third of Americans have already gotten their flu vaccines as of last month. That's a good start, but it means far too many people still have not. That's especially true in Hispanic and African-American communities, where vaccination rates are lagging. The concern is that people in these communities are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease that can make flu more harmful.

The good news is we have plenty of flu vaccine, and it has never been more affordable. Thanks to the new health care law, many Americans can now get their flu shot or nasal spray without additional cost. Over the years, too many Americans have gone without key preventive care, such as a mammogram or a flu shot, because they couldn't afford it. So the new law requires that all new health plans provide these recommended screenings and vaccinations at no additional cost. And beginning in January, virtually all Medicare beneficiaries will be able to get their flu vaccines with no co-pay, too.

Increased convenience

At the same time, getting vaccinated is more convenient. Most Americans get their flu vaccines at their doctor's office. But increasingly, you have other options, whether it's a supermarket, a health center, or neighborhood pharmacy. To find the closest vaccination sites, visit Just type in your ZIP code, and you'll get a list with the locations and hours of local vaccine sites.

You should also check with your employer and especially with your children's schools to see whether they offer the flu vaccine. Last year, as many as 40 states had school-based vaccination programs. Altogether, one in three children who were vaccinated last year was vaccinated at school, where parents don't have to worry about waiting in line or leaving work for a doctor's appointment.

Of course, we all can and should take other steps to prevent the spread of flu. It's important to wash your hands and cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow. It's also important to stay home from work or school if...

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