By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

January 15, 2013

NEW YORK — Vicenta Penalosa is one of those who receive a flu shot every single year from her Upper East Side, New York doctor.

She says getting vaccinated is important for people especially her age so as not to get sick with the flu.

Penalosa said, “Hindi ako nagkakasakit, wala akong nararamdaman, awa ng Diyos naman, huwag naman sana, mabuti yung flu shot.”

Her pulmonologist, Dr. Josephine Samson said, “The primary reason kaya gusto natin ng flu vaccine, aside sa para hindi mo naman ma-infect ang ibang tao is that you don’t miss a lot of work, kasi kung nagka trangkaso ka, the minimum time that you’re going to be out is from two to seven days.”

But not everyone in America is like Penalosa.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says only 37% of the 315 million people in America gets vaccinated against the influenza virus.

The CDC says this is one of the reasons why many Americans come down with the flu – because they’re not protected against the virus.

Samson said, “Here in New York, especially last week, I’ve seen like everyday at least sa clinic ko, we’ve seen every day at least two cases of flu. We also have reports ng mga emergency rooms that have increased incidence din ng mga flu illnesses, we’re hoping we have reached the peak.”

The CDC says the flu season may have already peaked but this will not be confirmed until weeks after.

Right now, only 24 States are reporting high levels of flu activity compared to last week’s 47 states.

The CDC has reported 20 confirmed cases of child deaths due to flu complications.

The CDC has not given the estimates on how many adults have died because of the flu. The numbers will not be known until after the end of the flu season.

There was a spot shortage of vaccines reported last week. The CDC says there’s not enough flu shots for all 315 million Americans because the industry has only made and shipped about 130 million doses – barely enough for at least half of the entire U.S. population.

But records show, in a typical year, only 37% of about 112 Million Americans do get vaccinated.

The CDC also says many people are getting sick this year because of the widespread outbreaks of other diseases with overlapping symptoms – norovirus, whooping cough and the common colds.

Medical experts say the flu shot has no effect on any of these diseases.

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