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Health Officials Urge Flu Shots for All Kids Who Need Them


The flu comes around every year, bringing the dreadful illness to the masses - up to 20% of the population, in fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But not enough kids are getting the much-needed immunization, which can help keep them out of the doctor's office or, worse, the hospital.

Although most healthy people infected with the flu virus can weather the infection without problems, the flu can cause serious sickness in some, especially those at high risk for complications. Each year the highly contagious seasonal bug kills 36,000 people and sends another 200,000 (including more than 20,000 kids under age 5) to the hospital.

The flu vaccine reduces the average person's chances of catching the flu by up to 80%. Yet a mere 1 in 5 babies and toddlers (who are especially at risk) receives the annual vaccine, says the CDC.

If only 50% of the kids in the United States were immunized against the flu, it would mean 650,000 fewer doctor's office visits and 2,250 fewer hospitalizations each year, according to a study in the September issue of the journal Pediatrics.
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