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Too many seniors not immunized against pneumonia, report says

February 4, 2010
by Thomas H. Maugh, II
Los Angeles Times

Pneumonia is by far the leading killer of seniors who contract either seasonal or pandemic H1N1 influenza, but far too many of the elderly are not immunized against it, according to a report issued Thursday by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America's Health. Pneumovax, a vaccine against the most common bacterial cause of pneumonia, has the potential to halt at least a third of such deaths, according to officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations, but it is widely underused. Thursday's report highlights those deficiencies and shows that California is one of the worst offenders.

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