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FEDERAL HEALTH OFFICIALS URGE FLU SHOTS FOR ELDERLY

Federal health officials said Thursday that more elderly people should obtain the annual flu shots, which have been available free through Medicare since 1993.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 58 percent of Americans age 65 and older obtained a flu shot in 1995, an 8 percent increase since 1993.

The agency said, however, that only 39 percent of older African-Americans and 50 percent of elderly Hispanics obtained their shots in 1995.

The CDC, which said 20,000 people die from the flu each winter, recommended that older Americans obtain a flu shot during the next two months.

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