Experts Recommend Flu Vaccination As Rates Remain Low

The ABC News (9/27, Larotonda) “Medical Unit” blog reports that while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says “more children than ever have been vaccinated against influenza,” health experts say the number is still too low as the flu season starts. At a CDC press conference held by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases on Thursday, “officials praised the upward movement…but cautioned it could still cause problems.” According to CDC assistant surgeon general, Dr. Anne Schuchat, “Last year it came early and it came hard and we’d like to get as many people vaccinated as possible before that.”

        At the press conference, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Howard Koh said, “Everyone 6 months of age and older should receive a flu vaccine,” CBS News (9/27, Jaslow) website reports. Koh added, “Despite substantial progress, we can do even more to make our country healthier through prevention.” A report card comparing the vaccination rates of previous years with last year’s was revealed during the press conference, showing “coverage rose 5 percent year over year for children aged 6 months through 17 years old, with about 57 percent” receiving vaccinations. In adults 18 and older, 41.5 percent were vaccinated, an increase of around 3 percent.

        On its website, NBC News (9/27, Fox) reports that “72 percent of health care staff got the vaccine,” but “only 59 percent of people working on long-term care facilities were vaccinated against flu last year.” Among pregnant women only 51 percent were vaccinated, and with pregnant women being more susceptible to the flu, “more work is needed” in getting them vaccinated. The report found that when offered a flu shot on the spot by their doctor, 70 percent of pregnant women received one, compared to 46 percent that “were vaccinated if their doctors recommended it but didn’t offer it then and there.”

        Also reporting on the story are the AP (9/27, Neergaard), Time (9/26, Sifferlin), the Washington Times (9/27, Somers), the Orlando (FL) Sentinel (9/26, Jameson), the Hartford (CT) Courant (9/26, Weir), MedPage Today (9/27, Smith), Medscape (9/27, Tucker), HealthDay (9/27, Reinberg), and Modern Healthcare (9/26, Subscription Publication).

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About Heather Swift

Heather “Swifty” Swift has been Kicking mAss since 1998. At 28 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer as a recently single mom with two small babies on her hip. After completing treatment with the thought that cancer was in her rear view mirror she worked, locally, as a volunteer for Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance doing community outreach to be certain that no one faced cancer alone. In 2005, she had a secondary diagnosis of breast cancer and tested positive for the BRCA2 mutation, which only amped up her commitment to creating positive change and to becoming a strong and effective advocate for the young adult cancer community. Now, at age 42, Swifty, her partner, Brian, and her two teenage children work together locally, nationally and internationally to advocate for change. Swifty regularly meets with legislators to work towards tangible change in health care, legislation that addresses the needs of cancer patients, care-partners, and families. She works directly with clinicians, medical/nursing students, youth & college students, cancer support organizations and others to educate them about the special needs of young adults living with a cancer diagnosis. Swifty is passionate about providing support by connecting people living with cancer to resources, to other cancer survivors, and to mobilizing and training individuals and groups to find their inner advocate. Swifty currently works with a number of amazing, hand-selected organizations, which provide her with opportunities to educate, to advocate, and to change the conversation about cancer and to work to bring an end to the disease. A few include: LiveSTRONG, mAss Kickers, Imerman Angels, National Breast Cancer Coalition, Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, Dusty Showers & The Second Basemen, and Stupid Cancer. Swifty is an oncology nursing student in upstate New York, loves time with her family, paddling sports, and peanut butter. She is a Virgo, but not the really anal-retentive type. Her strange fascination with superheroes makes her popular in geek circles, but it can be endearing. Swifty will be riding a llama across Oregon in July of 2012 and really does believe we can achieve and end to cancer and in world peace. Motto: Never Give Up! Favorite quote: “Our own life has to be our message.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

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