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In a reversal of previous years recommendations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is asking parents to immunize all children between the ages of 6 months to 18 years. Previously the recommendations were for the younger children – ages 6 months to 4 years.

CDC Director Julie Gerberding said they expect almost 146 million doses of the vaccine to be shipped this year and with the additional children being vaccinated, nearly 85% of all Americans fall into one of the suggested categories for vaccination.

So why the change this year? “Influenza outbreaks usually begin in children and move to the community at large, so we know that widespread influenza vaccination [in children] can slow this down,” said Dr. Renee R. Jenkins, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Are you a candidate for a flu shot? The CDC recommends the following:

  • People who should get vaccinated each year are:

    • Children 6 months through 18 years of age,
    • Pregnant women,
    • People 50 years of age and older,
    • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, and
    • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

They also suggest all healthcare givers, or any one who lives with or cares for one of the above shot be vaccinated against the flu.

Today’s issue of the Orlando Sentinel has an extensive list of times and places to get either a flu free shot, or shots at a reasonable price. With the increased availability of the shot this year, there is no excuse. So do yourself and your family a favor – get everyone immunized!

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