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Coming off record season, experts urge influenza vaccine

After witnessing an alarming amount of people affected during the flu season last year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and local physicians are recommending families get their 2013 influenza vaccine early.  

It has been predicted this year’s flu season could strike as early as October, and vaccinations have been proven to decrease the incidence of influenza and its potentially deadly complications, particularly for those most affected by flu — children and seniors. 

The CDC reports last year’s 2012-2013 flu season resulted in more hospitalizations of people over 65 than any flu season on record. Flu-related illnesses cause some 200,000 hospitalizations each year. 

D. Bruce Irwin, MD, owner and founder of American Family Care, said, “Too many people fail to take the flu seriously, and more than half of all Americans fail to protect themselves with a simple influenza vaccination. With schools in session, the spread of germs is inevitable and now is the time to protect yourself and your family from influenza.”  

The flu vaccine is currently available at Halifax Pharmacy, Fuller Roberts Clinic, the Health Department, Walgreen’s and CVS.  

Walgreen’s also offers a free immunization check to see what other immunizations they may recommend. 

Halifax Prime Care plans to begin giving flu shots starting Oct. 1 and will be following all CDC guidelines. 

The past few years, on average, only 42 percent of Americans were vaccinated against the flu — meaning more than half of Americans don’t typically get a flu shot. 

The CDC, local American Family Care facilities and AFC Doctors Express facilities hope to see the number of people getting vaccinated rise this year.  

Irwin said, “The severity and prevalence of the flu each year is one of the most unpredictable events in medicine. However, it is highly predictable that if you get a flu shot, your chances of getting the flu are significantly less.”