CDC to Black People: Get the Flu Vaccine

African Americans are more likely to have the chronic diseases that can lead to complications. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is spreading the message that protection is safe and simple. 

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(The Root) -- It's National Influenza Vaccination Week, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated but especially African Americans, who officials say are more likely to have the chronic diseases that that can lead to flu complications, hospitalization and even death.

The good news, the CDC said in a release today, is that it's simple to get protection through a yearly flu vaccine. The bad news: Many African Americans simply aren't not doing this.

"We've seen an increase in the number of children getting the flu vaccine," says Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Service and the CDC's director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "However, we are concerned that vaccine coverage rates remain low in the United States for adults, particularly in African Americans."

What's behind the vaccination disparity? The CDC speculates that some may have concerns about vaccine safety. So it's spreading the message that flu vaccines (both the shot and the nasal spray) actually have excellent safety records and are constantly being monitored, and that any minor side effects are far outweighed by the vaccine's benefits.

Still skeptical? Check out all the CDC's flu information at cdc.flu.gov.

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