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Boston Mayor Thomas Menino will be leaving an automated message on the home phone of thousands of Boston residents today. In his message, Menino will ask all residents of the city to get a flu vaccine by the end of the weekend.
According to Boston.com, the mayor is asking everyone six months or older to get a vaccine. The automated message comes at the same time as a state of emergency being declared in Boston.
Boston-area hospitals have begun restricting the number of visitors to more sensitive parts of the hospital, such as the OB-GYN floor. Hospital staff are now required to wear masks throughout the day.
This is the most extreme flu season in recent history. And although it is nearly a month earlier than typical flu season, 41 states have already seen outbreaks.
Boston has seen nearly 700 cases and four flu-related deaths. By this time last year, only 70 cases had been reported.
CBS News reports that scientists have observed this year’s vaccine to be lacking in protection against a particular “Influenza B” strain of the virus. But, Dr. Paul Biddinger of Massachusetts General Hospital, says that the flu vaccine is still the best option to protect against the flu. He says, “It is absolutely not too late to get your flu shot. I would strongly encourage anyone who has not gotten their flu shot yet to get their flu shot soon.”
Boston will offer free clinics all day on Friday.