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Less than half of Wisconsin residents got a flu shot in 2013, report finds

Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio Though Wisconsin generally scores well in a national report card on infectious disease, less than half of the state's population gets a flu shot every year. In 2013, the flu vaccination rate in Wisconsin was ...

Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio

Though Wisconsin generally scores well in a national report card on infectious disease, less than half of the state’s population gets a flu shot every year. In 2013, the flu vaccination rate in Wisconsin was only 42 percent.

A report by The Trust for America's Health says the Ebola outbreak in Africa spreading to other countries was a “wake-up call” for infectious disease control and planning, but the group’s executive director Jeff Levi said people tend to be “complacent” about common diseases like the flu.

“Only 14 states vaccinated at least half of their population against seasonal flu during the 2013-2014 flu season,” said Levi.

Compounding the problem this year is a less effective vaccine. This year, the Centers for Disease Control says the vaccine doesn't work as well against 1 of 4 flu strains. Nevertheless, Levi said just because the vaccine isn't perfect doesn't mean it won't protect against the flu.

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Dr. Eric Toner with the UPMC Centers for Health Security in Baltimore, Maryland, agrees.

“In 1 of 4 strains of flu that's circulating, there's been a mismatch. But there's not a mismatch in the other three strains. So the recommendation still is to get the flu shot,” said Toner.

Toner predicts its going to “a bad flu season,” and said that some protection is better than none at all.

 More WPR news can be found on KUWS-FM 91.3 or online at www.wpr.org .

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