Healthy Choices

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CDC: Many skip the flu vaccine, risking serious illness

12/19/2013 9:18 AM

12/19/2013 9:18 AM

Since the 2010-2011 flu season, health officials have recommended that everyone – from six months of age and up – get annual vaccinations.

And yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 57 percent of youths aged six months to 17 years old got a flu vaccine during the 2011-2012 season, the most recent year for which information was available. Adults 18 years and older got vaccinated at a rate of just 38 percent.

This unnecessary risk costs an estimated annual burden of potentially thousands of deaths nationwide and something like 15 million to 60 million cases of the flu, CDC Medical Officer Angela J.P. Campbell told a group of reporters with the Association of Health Care Journalism last week.

Direct medical costs are pegged at $10.4 billion. Next year, however, at least the costs should be lower. The Affordable Care Act requires that flu shots be administered free to consumers starting in January.

The Flu I.Q. widget is an interactive quiz to test your flu knowledge.

About This Blog

Sacramento Bee reporters Cynthia Craft and Sammy Caiola write about community health issues in the Sacramento region. Their work is in conjunction with the California Endowment, a non-profit health foundation created in 1996.

Cynthia H. Craft is The Sacramento Bee's senior writer on health. She graduated from Ohio State University and previously worked at the Los Angeles Times and California Journal. She was a fellow in 2012 at the National Library for Medicine in Washington, D.C. at the National Institute for Health. Reach her at or 916-321-1270. Twitter: @cynthiahcraft.

Sammy Caiola joined The Sacramento Bee as a health reporter in 2014. She is a recent graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, where she was a Top 10 finisher in the William Randolph Hearst College Journalism Awards. Reach her at or 916-321-1636. Twitter: @SammyCaiola.


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