H1N1 Vaccination Still Highly Recommended

H1N1 activity leveling off, but CDC still recommends vaccination
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Despite H1N1 virus levels stabilizing, transmission remains an issue and vaccination continues to be an effective option for prevention of this potentially serious condition, according to a Feb. 5 press briefing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases in Atlanta provided an update on H1N1 flu activity and vaccination program. In addition, an update on an H1N1 flu survey that included 4,110 individuals interviewed between January 24 to 30 was provided.

For the last three weeks, Schuchat reported that influenza-like activity has remained below national baseline levels; however, nearly all cases reported have been the H1N1 pandemic strain. According to an H1N1 flu survey, 23.4 percent of Americans have received H1N1 vaccinations, with 76 million doses provided to date. Approximately 37 percent of children and teens up to the age of 18 years have been vaccinated. However, two H1N1 vaccination doses are required for children 10 years and younger, with only 37 percent of children in this age group receiving their second dose.

"Vaccination is such an easy step to take and it's the best protection against this disease that can be serious. As opposed to last fall, today there is plenty of vaccine available," Schuchat said during the briefing. "Many children still need a second dose. While we think that 37 percent of kids who have gotten one dose got a second dose, that means the majority haven't of those young children. So I urge parents to take your children back for that second dose."

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