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Flu activity increasing; CDC urges vaccinations
December 12th, 2013
12:49 PM ET

Flu activity increasing; CDC urges vaccinations

Last year's flu season was one of the worst in recent memory, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden said Thursday, and although this season is off to a slower start, people should still get flu vaccines.

"Last year was a relatively severe season," Frieden said, noting that 381,000 people were hospitalized, and 169 children died from the flu.  "This is higher than we've seen in many flu seasons."

The good news, Frieden said, is that the flu vaccine prevented millions of illnesses. "We estimate that during last year's flu season, flu vaccination prevented 6.6 million people from getting sick with the flu, 3.2 million from going to see a doctor and at least 79,000 hospitalizations." 

But despite the vaccine's success rates, this year, only 40% of people ages 6 months or older have been vaccinated, he said.

"Seasonal influenza activity is starting to increase in different parts of the U.S.," he said, "The best way you can protect yourself against the flu is getting a flu vaccine."

Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's Center for Global Health, echoed Frieden's sentiments, particularly when it comes to children.

"Already, three children have died this year from flu," Schuchat said. "We hate to see anyone die from the flu, but particularly children. I really urge parents to make sure their children are vaccinated."

It's too soon to predict this season's outcome, so don't hesitate to get the vaccine while supplies are still high, Schuchat said.

"In 90% of years, the flu peaks between January and March, so it's too soon to tell you what this flu season is going to be like," she said. "Protecting your family from the flu is something we can control, and vaccination is the best way."


soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Nobody you know

    Wait for it: the anti-government, anti-vax crowd will be along momentarily to tell you that "the flu is nothing–you'll be sick for a few days," "vaccines will harm your immune system," "the CDC is crooked and is a pawn of Big Pharma."

    Predictable.

    December 12, 2013 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • VladT

      Don't forget....

      Vaccines had nothing to due with the eradication of Polio. Our "sanitation" simply miraculously improved right before vaccination programs started.

      Did we leave anything out?

      December 13, 2013 at 05:08 | Report abuse |
  2. talluluah

    How many of those hospitalized and died actually got the vaccine?
    Should be a simple m=number to publish, right? Of the 381, 000, 350,000 did NOT get the vaccine? It wold prove once and for all that the flu vaccine works. I get so frustrated that the CDC does not show this simple example. So easy to collect, wouldn't cost a thing to report it. CDC PLEASE SHOW THAT ONLY THOSE WHO DON:T GET VACCINATED GET THE FLU!!!!

    December 13, 2013 at 09:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nobody you know

      Oh, knock it off, talluluah. You're attempting to pretend that the vaccine will prevent everyone who gets it from getting the flu. It won't, and the CDC never claimed it would, nor does any doctor or other medical professional. No vaccine is 100% effective; there are often strains of the flu that occur that the vaccine was not formulated to prevent. So what? The vaccine DOES prevent a vast percentage of cases of flu, and lessens the severity of the cases that DO occur among those who are vaccinated.

      Stop with the nonsense. Sputtering this baloney that "if vaccines are effective, and you're vaccinated, you are protected and don't have to worry about whether others around you are sick" is just another anti-vax canard.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
    • CHREGR

      I work for a doctors office and like 98 percent of the people that I came into contact with who got the flu had the flu shot. I did not get the shot and did not get the flu.

      December 19, 2013 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
    • Nobody you know

      If someone gets the flu after having had the flu shot, then you, dear ought to know that 1. Not vaccine is 100% effective 2. The flu vaccine doesn't cover EVERY possible strain of the virus and 3. Immunity doesn't occur instantaneously–people who get the flu may have only had the vaccine less than 2 weeks previously and it hasn't had time to reach full affect.

      I don't believe you "work in a doctor's office" at all.

      December 21, 2013 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
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    December 13, 2013 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nobody you know

      Consíguete una vida, querido.

      December 13, 2013 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
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    HAN PASADO ALGUNOS ANOS

    December 13, 2013 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nobody you know

      Consíguete una vida, querido.

      December 13, 2013 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
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    December 13, 2013 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
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    December 13, 2013 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
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    December 17, 2013 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Elvis

    Flu manufacturers urge you to get a flu shot immediately!

    Ok, maybe this will work – I urge you to buy everything I'm selling
    right now – or your going to die!!!

    See what I'm saying, it's just a money-making scam. I've heard stuff
    like vitamin d can even beat the flu shot in clinical trials.

    December 22, 2013 at 02:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nobody you know

      Yeah, gee, let's see: am I going to pay attention to doctors and medical researchers, or listen to some boob who can't figure out when to use apostrophes?

      What to do, what to do...

      December 29, 2013 at 17:28 | Report abuse |

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