New Flu Strains Lead Health Officials to Urge Vaccination


Do you want the good news or bad news first?

The good news: Last year's flu season was the mildest recorded, with record-low hospitalizations and a short season.

But that was largely because the flu strains in circulation last year were similar to those in 2010.

Now the bad news: Experts say two new strains of influenza have begun circling the globe, and one of them is much harsher than previous flu strains.

"People cannot become complacent this year," said Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, told Fox News.

The flu season typically begins as early as October and can last through May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the 2009-10 season, thousands of people were hospitalized and many died in one of the biggest flu pandemics in recent history. Vaccine shortages were also reported in some areas. But health officials told CBS News there are more than enough flu shots to go around this year and urged everyone to get vaccinated.