Kansas officials urge flu shots

TOPEKA | State health officials are making their annual pitch for Kansans to get flu shots.

The appeal comes with the start Monday of National Influenza Vaccination Week in hopes of reducing the number of flu deaths in the U.S., an annual average of 36,000. Each year, between 15 million and 60 million people in the U.S. are infected and about 200,000 are hospitalized.

More than 1,500 Kansans die each year from influenza and pneumonia.

For the first time, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment this year is recommending that anyone in Kansas aged 6 months through 18 years be vaccinated.

Pregnant women, people 50 years and older and those with chronic medical conditions or impaired immunity are also urged to get shots.