Federal Health Officials Urge Public to Get Flu Shot

Don’t be fooled by last year’s mild flu season, federal health officials warned this week. Now is the time to schedule your annual flu shot.

“The past three years have demonstrated that influenza is predictably unpredictable,” said Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Koh, and other health professionals from the nation’s leading medical organizations, rolled up their sleeves this week to be vaccinated.

“When it comes to flu, we can’t look to the past to predict the future,” Koh said in a news release. “Stay healthy – get vaccinated!”

For older adults, influenza season is also an opportune time to ask their doctor about pneumococcal disease – a common complication from flu – and whether they need to be vaccinated, said Dr. William Schaffner, immediate past-president of the National Foundation for Infectious Disease. Both vaccines can be administered at the same time.

This year’s seasonal influenza vaccine has one strain in common with last year’s vaccine. But it also protects against two new viral strains.

Flu vaccine is recommended for nearly everyone 6 months of age and older. Flu season traditionally begins in October and lasts through May.

Health officials recommend getting vaccinated before flu season begins.

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