Healthwatch: Fighting the Flu


Health officials once again are urging Americans to get vaccinated against the flu.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports 77 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed with more on the way.

This year we have more doses of vaccine than we have ever produced in the United States," said Gerberding. "We're still projecting between 110 and 115 million doses."

However, doctors around the country have complained they don't have enough doses. The CDC insists they're working out problems that led to initial delays in distribution.

Gerberding said she wants people to know it's not too late to get your flu shot, even after Thanksgiving.

"It is the best defense against influenza and that means illness and days lost from school or work, but it can also mean hospitalization or death, especially for vulnerable people," said Gerberding.

The CDC reports 36,000 Americans die annually from flu-related illnesses. To raise awareness, it has designated the week of Nov. 27 as National Influenza Vaccine Week.

"During National Influenza Vaccine Week, we in the public health community will continue to work diligently with our federal, local and private sector partners to ensure that all people seeking vaccine are able to receive it," said Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer for Alabama."

If you're wondering if you should get vaccinated, consider this. Of 300 million Americans, 210 million of us fall into groups for which vaccination is especially important. Those groups include the elderly, children under five, and healthcare workers.

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