Scroll To Top

Ready for Your Flu Shot?

Ready for Your Flu Shot?


Far too few Americans get their flu shots each winter, the government is warning, as it calls for a record number to line up for inoculations this year -- including all of the nation's HIVers. This year promises an ample vaccine supply: 143 million to 146 million doses, more than ever before manufactured. Choices include standard flu shots for all ages; and the nasal vaccine FluMist, which can be used in healthy people age 2 to 49. HIV-positive adults, however, should only receive a flu shot, not the nasal vaccine that contains live flu virus. Add up everyone the CDC recommends get vaccinated, and 261 million Americans qualify. Yet last year, just 113 million of the 140 million doses produced were used. And new CDC data released Wednesday show that just a fraction of those at highest risk from influenza's seasonal march across the country get protected. Flu kills about 36,000 Americans a year and leads to about 200,000 hospitalizations. 'It's a fact that the influenza vaccine saves lives,' said Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just 72% of people 65 and older were vaccinated in the 2006-2007 flu season, the latest data available -- even though Medicare pays for their doses. That's well short of the government's goal to be vaccinating 90% of this age group by 2010. Anyone who has a chronic illness such as asthma or heart disease, or a weak immune system, including those with HIV, is in special need of vaccination as well. But the new data shows just over a third of young adults with those conditions, and half of 50- to 64-year-olds, comply. An increasing variety of places are offering vaccination beyond the usual doctors' offices, health departments, and grocery stores. With the CDC's encouragement, more schools are scheduling flu vaccination days, some with free vaccines. [This report reprinted with permission of the Associated Press. (c) 2008 by Associated Press | September 25, 2008]

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

HIV Plus Editors