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CDC kicks off annual flu shot drive


WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention joined the National Foundation for Infectious Disease, along with other public health and medical groups, on Thursday to kick off the 2017-18 flu vaccination campaign.

"While we don't know what this season has in store, the science on flu vaccination is clear," stated Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who recieved his flu shot during the press conference announcing the campaign. "Today, I am leading by example and getting vaccinated against flu. I urge everyone six months and older to do the same as soon as vaccine is available in their community."

Influenza vaccination coverage last year across the entire U.S. population was 46.8%, an increase of 1.2 percentage points from the previous season. That level of coverage meant that more than half of  the  U.S. population was unprotected against flu last season.

Among children 6 months through 17 years, coverage with one or more doses of flu vaccine was 59%, similar to the 2015–16 season (59.3%). Coverage was 43.3% among adults over the age of18 years, which was 1.6 percentage points higher than coverage during the 2015–16 season (41.7%).

"We are pleased to see that the decrease in vaccination coverage among adults age 50 years and older that we saw in the 2015-2016 season was not sustained during the 2016-2017 season," commented Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "It is critical to maintain the hightest level of vaccination coverage for older adults because they are disproportionally affected by flu. Vaccination not only reduces chance that older adults will get the flu, it can also keep them out of the hospital by reducing the severity of the infection and related complications if they do get the flu."

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