Iowans are being encouraged to find time in their busy pre-Christmas schedules and get a flu shot. Don Callaghan, with the Iowa Department of Public Health , says an annual vaccination offers the best protection from getting sick. Influenza is blamed for approximately 1,000 deaths every year in Iowa.

"Each year in the United States approximately 20% of the population will become ill with influenza and approximately 36,000 people will die from it," Callaghan said. "So, influenza is a very serious disease and people should go ahead and take the measures necessary to keep themselves from getting sick." Iowa has yet to have a confirmed case of the flu, but the peak time for the flu season in the state usually doesn’t hit until sometime in January or February. Callaghan says there’s a large and potent supply of this year’s vaccine.

"This year, we fully anticipate the strains that are in the vaccine will match the circulating strains in the United States," Callaghan said. "We have the most vaccine that we’ve had available in recent years. We have 136-million doses of vaccine available, so that means more people can get vaccinated and protect themselves from influenza." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated this week as National Influenza Vaccination Week.


AUDIO: Radio Iowa’s Pat Curtis report on flu shots. :33 MP3