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Central Coast health officials urge people to get flu shots this holiday season

Central Coast health officials are warning the flue season is here –it starts in December and continues through March. On National Influenza Vaccination Week, they’re urging people to watch their health.

“There are some people that don’t think vaccinations are worth it,” said doctor Chuck Merrill of Marian R egional Medical Center. ” I think it’s very important that we educate people.”

Merrill said it’s better to not risk it.

“I got vaccinated this year against influenza because I know that the risks of the vaccination are low and the benefits of preventing influenza are significant.”

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports approximately 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter.

Health officials recommend everyone six months of age and older, including pregnant women, get a flu shot.

Doctor Merrill added avoiding the flu shot, or other vaccines, can some times lead to an Emergency Room visit.

“Many times they come in here with diseases that we don’t normally see. So people come in with Haemophilus Influenzae which can cause a severe infection in the neck. We see people that come in with meningitis from organisms that can be prevented by vaccinations.”

Flu shots are covered by Medi-Cal, Medicare, and by most insurance plans.

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