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HHS Secretary: Get A Flu Shot Now

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Patient receives shot of flu vaccine (AP File Photo)

Patient receives shot of flu vaccine (AP File Photo)

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CHICAGO (WBBM) – U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is encouraging people to get their flu shots and leading by example.

Sebelius got vaccinated by a pharmacist at the Walgreens pharmacy at 75th and State streets this morning.

She said the shot was painless and even asked “that’s it?” after it was over.

Sebelius says now is the perfect time to get vaccinated – there’s a large supply and the virus hasn’t struck yet.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this year’s vaccine protects against three different flu strains – including the H1N1 virus that killed an estimated 12,000 people in the U.S. between April 2009 and April 2010.

Sebelius cautions people against skipping a flu shot to save money.

She says the cost of getting sick and missing work or being hospitalized are far greater than the few bucks they would save.

Walgreens sells flu shots for $31.99 and about 75 percent of customers who get them have insurance or government programs that pay for part of it, according to the company’s market pharmacy director.

Pregnant women, people with underlying health problems, the very young and the very old are the most at risk.

The vaccine comes in a number of forms now – nasal spray, preservative-free, standard shot and high dose for those with compromised immune systems.

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