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Doctors recommend flu vaccines as school starts

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

The new school year just barely began, but doctors are already warning patients that an unpredictable flu season is starting up too.

Though it may seam early, clinics and pharmacies are already stocked up with flu vaccines -- and experts warn that students who are not up-to-date on their shots may soon get sent home.

The School Nurse Organization is also strongly urging students between the ages of seven and 12 to get vaccinated for meningitis before coming back to the classroom, and the University of Minnesota is warning students about two new strains of the flu -- and the swine flu too.

The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed hundreds of new cases of whooping cough this summer as well, which is why they say it's even more important for students to get the DTaP vaccine.

None of the U of M students who spoke with FOX 9 News had even thought about vaccines yet, but Dave Golden, director of health at Boynton Health, says they have already started stockpiling the flu vaccine and will offer mass clinics next month.

On average, 40 percent of the students and staff at the university -- about 20,000 people -- will get the flu shot.

This year's vaccine will cover two new strains of the flu, but will not protect against the swine flu; however, health officials still have not determined whether swine flu can be passed from person to person. So far, the confirmed cases have only been transferred from pig to person.

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