Few People Get Vaccine as Flu Season Arrives - 8 News NOW

Few People Get Vaccine as Flu Season Arrives

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LAS VEGAS -- The country is just one month away from the peak flu season and an alarming number of people in Nevada are opting out of getting vaccinated.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control finds that Nevada has one of the lowest rates for the entire country.

For the 2011 to 2012 flu season, a little more than 32 percent of Nevadans older than 6 months have received the vaccine.

Compare that to the national numbers where about 51 percent of anyone 6 months to 17 years old received a flu shot, and almost 39 percent of all adults older than 18 received a vaccination.

The Southern Nevada Health District says the flu is here in southern Nevada, and the number of cases is on the rise.

Every one is urged to get their flu shot. There is still time and healthcare professionals tell us there is no excuse.

"Getting a flu vaccine is probably one of the most important things you can do to protect your health all winter long, and especially for your children," pediatrician Dr. Noah Kohn said.

Dr. Kohn is a pediatrician at the Children's Free Clinic of Southern Nevada. He says he has seen a spike in children testing positive for influenza.

"The flu has really come on strong just in the last week, over the course of the past maybe five or six days," Dr. Kohn said.

He says the oldest flu victim he has seen is a 14 year old and the youngest an 11-week-old baby, who was very sick.

It is one more reason why he is pushing for everyone to get the flu shot now.

"It is critical that people get flu vaccination as early in the season as they can, and it is never too late," Dr. Kohn said.

With Nevada having a low vaccination rate to begin with, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting people to get their flu shot may be an uphill battle.

"I don't really get them now because I just like my body to fight it naturally," Las Vegas resident Joanna Chitamin said.

However, Dr. Kohn says protecting yourself with a flu shot could help protect your little ones since the flu can spread so easily at school.

"Children are in close proximity to each other all day long. Children tend not to wash their hands as much as adults do, and children tend to touch everything they can find," he said.

Kohn says a flu shot is the best defense against the illness, but frequent hand washing and hand sanitizer are also important to keep influenza at bay.

Flu shots are free for uninsured children at the Children's Free Clinic of Southern Nevada.

People can also get flu shots at the health district for $40.

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