The CDC says health-care workers should be among the first in line to receive the swine-flu (H1N1) vaccine, which the government hopes will be available by mid-October. But will your doctors, nurses, and other medical providers roll up their sleeves? Only 45 percent of health-care workers get a seasonal flu shot every year, citing the same reasons for opting out that patients do: I'm healthy and don't need it; I'm worried about side effects; I'm afraid of needles. M.D.s and R.N.s are better covered than other staffers, like lab techs and home health aides. But everyone needs to improve. The CDC has been campaigning to raise immunization rates among the white-coat set for years. Already, seasonal flu kills 36,000 Americans annually. When swine flu starts surging, ask your provider: did you get your shot?
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