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Survey: Two-Thirds of Americans Plan to Get Flu Vaccine

CDC Says 170 Million Doses of Flu Vaccine Will Be Available This Flu Season

Vaccines for Children

Because this season's vaccine is the same as last season's, young children who received the vaccine last year need only one dose this year, instead of the usual two. But children 6 months to 8 years old who are being immunized for the first time still need two doses at least four weeks apart.

Last year in the U.S., at least 114 children and teens under age 18 died as a result of the flu, and only half of them had an underlying health problem that placed them at higher risk, said American Academy of Pediatrics President Marion Burton, MD, at the news conference. Burton is also director of community pediatrics at the University of South Carolina.

This year, seven in 10 parents said they'll "definitely" or "probably" get their children vaccinated against the flu, according to the infectious disease foundation's annual survey of parents. The percentages are higher for parents of children 10 and under and lower for those whose children are 11 through 17. More than one in 10 parents said they don't know whether they're going to get their kids immunized.

Richard Beigi, MD, MSc, representing the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists at the news conference, emphasized the importance of flu vaccination for pregnant women. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, 347 pregnant women became severely ill with H1N1 flu, and about 20% of them died.

"Flu vaccine during pregnancy is safe for both mothers and babies," says Beigi, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh. He says the mother's immunization protects her newborn for several months, until he or she is old enough to be vaccinated.

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