Doctors Urging Flu Vaccination

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EAST LANSING (WILX)-- You are more likely to get the flu this year than last, but it's not because of the virus. It's because people aren't getting flu shots.

"Here in Michigan it's somewhat disappointing that we're ranked fourth in the country for refusing immunizations," said Kenneth Elmassian, President of the Michigan State Medical Society.

Last year 51 percent of kids (ages infant-19) in Michigan received a flu vaccination. It was considered a mild year, yet seven children still died.

"Any death is a preventable death. A child's death is particularly heartbreaking," said Dr. Matthew Davis, Chief Medical Executive for Michigan Department of Community Health.

According to Davis, this year has the potential to be worse.

"After mild year you see lower levels of people getting the vaccination. That leads to more people getting sick," said Davis.

Urging families to make this year different; the Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan State Medical Society, and the Michigan Osteopathic Association have a goal to vaccinate 90 percent of kids this season.

"It's not clear to me why the vaccination rates are lower here compared to other states; but I want to reassure the public that the vaccination's we're using in this state are the safest available," said Davis.

But they won't reach their goal if families hold on to their concerns about the vaccination.

Doctors say no one can get sick from the vaccine (but occasionally you can still get the flu.

"I know your not going to ask to give him nothing he doesn't need," said mother Vanessa Jeffries.

"Put the misconceptions behind. Speak to your primary care physician," said Myral Robbins, with the Michigan Osteopathic Association.

There's been no reported flu cases in Michigan yet, but that doesn't mean there's time to wait. This year there's an abundant supply of the vaccination, and once administered it still takes two weeks to kick in.

"We typically see influenza late January, but we've seen it break out nationally as early as November in the past," said Davis.

There are several flu vaccines available. Doctors say if the regular shot has worked well for you in the past, go with it again.

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