Yvette Roubideaux: The real meessage about H1N1 flu
"This week, my colleagues in the Department of Health and Human Services and I will be reaching out to Americans across the country to amplify a message we’ve been delivering for months: Go get your H1N1 flu vaccine.

National Influenza Vaccination Week begins Jan. 10, and with more than 130 million doses available, we’re encouraging all Americans to get vaccinated. As we have since April when the flu was identified, we’re making a special effort to reach out to American Indians and Alaska Natives who we know are more vulnerable to the flu than other Americans. So tell your friends and family: If you want to protect yourself and loved ones this winter, it’s time to get your H1N1 vaccine.

I know that getting your vaccine can be easy to put off, especially since the H1N1 flu is subsiding in many parts of the country. But the flu is an unpredictable disease. We don’t know when a third wave will hit. What we do know is that it’s extremely dangerous. By mid-November, we had already seen approximately 47 million cases of H1N1 flu, more than 200,000 hospitalizations, and almost 10,000 deaths.

The flu is especially dangerous for Americans in at-risk groups like people under the age of 25, pregnant women, and people with underlying conditions like asthma and diabetes. Unfortunately, that last group includes many American Indians and Alaska Natives, which explains why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found last month that we are four times more likely to die from the H1N1 flu than other Americans."

Get the Story:
Yvette Roubideaux: H1N1: The real message (Indian Country Today 1/8)

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