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Less than 60 percent of children in the US got the flu shot last year, down by 1.1 percent from the year before, the US Surgeon General warned yesterday.
That falls far below the 80 percent vaccination rate that the government urges could give children, who are especially susceptible to the flu, so-called herd immunity.
Flu - Season - Years - People - Children
Last flu season was the deadliest in 40 years, killing 80,000 people, including 180 children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as much as two thirds of those children would have lived - if they had gotten vaccinated.
Thursday - US - Surgeon - General - Jerome
On Thursday, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams urged Americans to get their shots, and especially to get kids over six months old vaccinated as this year's flu season begins.
Every year, the flu makes its way around the world.
Year - Health - Officials - Public
Every year, health officials plead with the public to get vaccinated.
And every year, some fraction of the population fails to do so. Consistently, these people make up the majority of the death toll when the final tally is made.
Flu - Shot - Guarantee - Virus
Granted, the flu shot is not a guarantee that you won't get the virus.
In fact, last year's was far from it; the shot was about 40 percent effective overall, and only 25 percent effective against the dominant A (H3N2) strain.
Vaccine - Children - Population
The vaccine is actually more effective in children than it is in any other population, however.
And their immunity is the foundation of 'herd immunity,' according to Mayo Clinic pediatrician and vaccine expert Dr Robert Jacobson.
Children - People - Flu - Community
'It turns out that school-age children are the people that start the flu outbreaks in the community,' he says.
'Frankly, vaccinating school-age children will drastically reduce the disease burden, because this is herd immunity and [effectively] vaccinates those who are too young or too elderly for the shot to...
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