Pregnant Women Urged To Get Vaccinated Against Influenza

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The Michigan Department of Community Health is urging women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season, and those who come in contact with high-risk populations, to receive the influenza vaccine. Pregnant women are included in the high-risk group for influenza and related complications, yet the vaccination rate for them is less than 15 percent (1989-2005 National Health Interview Survey data).

In addition to pregnant women, all infants and children 6 months of age to 5 years of age should be vaccinated, along with all household contacts and caregivers of children 4 years of age and younger. This is especially important for parents, grandparents, siblings, daycare providers, and babysitters.

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"It is vital for parents and caregivers to realize that children experience the highest rates of influenza," said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. "About one in three children contract the virus every year. Infants and children can develop severe complications, such as pneumonia, seizures, and ear or sinus infections. Protect yourself and your loved ones from influenza by getting vaccinated."

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 220 million people, or 73 percent, of the U.S. population are recommended for an annual flu vaccine, though fewer than 100 million actually get vaccinated.

Last year, 68 children in the U.S. died of flu and related complications. Every year in the U.S., an average of 5 percent to 20 percent of the population gets the flu. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications and about 36,000 people die from flu, according to the CDC.

Not getting vaccinated against seasonal flu is a decision that could put you and your family at risk. Richard and Alissa Kanowitz, now members of the national organization Families Fighting Flu, lost their 4

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