BLOUNTVILLE — State health commissioners from Tennessee and Virginia were in the same room Friday to tell the public to get a flu shot.
Virginia Health Commissioner Cynthia Romero and Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner were with other stakeholders announcing their annual “Keep Flu Out” campaign at the Sullivan County Schools/Health Department facility.
The group pointed out everyone older than 6 months old should get the flu shot.
People at highest risk are young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and those 65 and older.
But Romero and Dreyzehner noted about half the residents in both states get a flu shot.
“We could be doing better,” Romero said. “The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has informed us that at any one given time during the flu season, anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of our population can be infected with the flu. That could lead to $6.2 billion of lost productivity across the U.S. and $10.4 billion in direct medical care costs, plus 200,000 hospitalizations.”
She added there were 164 flu-related pediatric deaths last year.
“Twenty thousand children end up in hospitals every year (due to the flu) and 31 percent of adults aged 18 to 49 were vaccinated — that’s the lowest percentage of any age group (getting the flu shot),” Dreyzehner said.
Read more in the Saturday print edition of the Times-News or in the expanded electronic edition.