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"Lots of flu shots, but too few takers"

Original article appeared in the Star Tribune on September 20, 2007. It was written by Maura Lerner.

Flu shot vaccine availability is on the rise, but many people who need the shot still don't get vaccinated. In Minnesota, many people are at risk for flu complications that could lead to death. In fact, last year during flu season, 88 people in Minnesota died from the flu. For the most part they were either elderly or very young with weakened ammune systems, but anyone can get sick from the flu. The safest way to prevent illness or death is to get a flu shot.

In the past, flu shots have been in limited supply, but this year more than 130 million doses will be available in the U.S. Minnesota's goal is to use those flu shots to get as many people as possible under 5-years-old and over 50-years-old vaccinated. Also, Minnesota seems to have an ongoing problem of health care workers who refuse to get vaccinated. Last year only 42% of healthcare workers nationwide were given the flu shot. Minnesota hopes to more than double that number by having 90% of healthcare workers vaccinated for influenza.

The official flu season will begin in October and end in May. So, it is good to be vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent yourself from getting terribly sick from the flu.