Flu shot season begins with ample supply coming

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government is warning that not nearly enough Americans get their annual flu shots. And it's calling for a record number of people to line up for inoculations this year, including 30 million more school-age children.

There's plenty more vaccine to go around this year. A record number of up to 146 million doses are being manufactured.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 261 million Americans get flu shots. But last year, only 113 million of the 140 million doses produced were used.

The head of the CDC says "it's a fact that the influenza vaccine saves lives." But the organization's data shows just a fraction of those in the highest risk group get protected.

Flu kills about 36,000 Americans a year and leads to about 200,000 hospitalizations.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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