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Health Officials Encourage Earlier Flu Vaccinations

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CBS Minnesota (con't)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s been shown that lower flu vaccination years tend to have worse disease outbreaks. So, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is pushing the message earlier this year: Get vaccinated.

The hard numbers from the CDC make flu vaccination sound like an easy decision. Approximately 65 million Americans get the bug annually, which leads to a projected 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths.

With unused vaccine left over last season, the CDC hopes more people will get immunized and protected if it’s available earlier. Virtually everyone over 6 months old is encouraged to get immunized against the flu.

Target launched its flu vaccine program at all of its stores and clinics with an emphasis on convenience. Most insurance coverage is accepted.

When insurance doesn’t cover the cost, Target’s price is $25 for the shot and $36 for the flu mist.

“No appointments, so guests are able to get it fairly easily and get it at a lower cost,” said Desri Rogstad, a Target Pharmacist.

If the there is a rush on vaccines once the flu season begins, Target prepared by getting immunization certification for pharmacists at its 1,650 stores.

The CDC announced the three virus strains to be covered in this year’s flu vaccine in mid-July. It determined that H1N1, H3N2 and an influenza B virus are most likely to be circulating this fall and winter.

The very young, very old and chronically ill are most at risk from complications of the flu.

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