Government urges seniors to get flu shots

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stressed the need for senior citizens, who are among the Americans at highest risk for catching the flu, to receive an annual influenza vaccination.

A record 100,000 million doses of flu vaccination will be available to Americans by October this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Medicare Part B and Medicaid will cover the cost and administration fees of both influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, according to administrator CMS Mark McClellan.

The flu causes 36,000 American deaths each year and another 200,000 hospitalizations, according to the organizations. Most involve seniors.

The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging will meet today in Washington for a hearing entitled "Combating the Flu: Keeping Seniors Alive."