There are also concerns that this year's flu shot may not be all that effective in preventing the respiratory illness.
She urged the Ministry of Health and Welfare to put the plan on hold until it has evaluated demand for the vaccines and secured funding to cover the costs of sourcing, delivering and administering them.
Doctors say a typical flu season in Oklahoma usually runs from October to May.
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However, as Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, pointed out, the flu has potentially serious complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus and ear infections.
Tonda Francis, vice president of Regional Coordination and Clinical Initiatives at the Health Collaborative, said the rate of employees who are terminated for refusing flu shots is low. Something we all want to avoid but remember even the shot takes time to take effect.
Other explanations for Penobscot's numbers include the possibility that there are actually more flu cases in the community or that designated health care providers are being especially avid in reporting their cases. And doctors said getting it done before the holidays would be a good idea. "So if you need to be out and about running errands and meeting up with friends and family, it's wise to protect yourself-and them-as best you can".
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And the vaccine is no guarantee of protection. The number of influenza-associated hospitalizations reported in individuals in the 65 years and older age group is almost double the average number of cases reported over the past five flu seasons.
Data from the CDC's interactive flu-tracking site show cases of people falling ill with "influenza-like illnesses" (ILI) are more widespread than in previous years.
It is impossible to contract a case of flu from the vaccine. "And there are a lot of H1N1 and B viruses out there", Brammer said.
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Despite those misgivings, she encourages the elderly and those with underlying heart and lung conditions or with suppressed immune systems, who are vulnerable to influenza and its complications, to get their shot to obtain "all the protection you can get".