The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a statement urging Americans to get their flu shots as soon as possible. The agency is concerned about too many skipping the vaccination for the second year, causing a massive problem for them and for people who cannot get the flu shot because of treatments.
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Last season, there was a 1.5% decline in vaccinations among those who could receive them, down to only 46% of the population received the shots. The largest group to not get the vaccination were those between the ages of 50 and 64, a critical portion.
"Flu is serious. Flu is unpredictable. Flu often gets not enough respect," warned Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director. "If we could increase vaccination coverage in this country by just 5 percent, that would prevent about 800,000 illnesses and nearly 10,000 hospitalizations."
Frieden urged people to get the vaccine by the end of October because a delay could be as bad as not getting it all this year.
Dr. William Schaffner, a medical director of the National Foundation for Infection Diseases, said that the decline in older people should be of concern, adding that almost 75% of the people hospitalized during the 2015-2016 season were older than 65. He then added that the influenza vaccine reduces the chances of getting the flu as well as minimizes the effects of it.
Sprays have been discontinued this season because they have been found to offer little protection against the infection.
For more on the 2016-2017 flu season, see our FLU SEASON 2016: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW collection.