With flu season around the corner, top health officials doubled down about the importance of getting a flu vaccine.
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“Flu is unpredictable but we can predict that it will arrive,” Dr. Bill Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, said at a news conference Thursday.
Schaffner stressed that all Americans older than six months of age get vaccinated annually against the disease, including this year. For vulnerable populations like pregnant women, young children, older adults and people with chronic health conditions, getting vaccinated is especially critical.
(MORE: Flu Season 2019: What you need to know about symptoms and the vaccine)
While many Americans brush off the disease because it’s so common, contracting the flu can be serious. Nearly 80,000 Americans died and 960,000 were hospitalized due to the flu during the 2017-2018 flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.