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Insurance covers most flu vaccinations, often without a copayment.

For those paying out of pocket, prices can range between and .

He said it could claim as many lives as the Hong Kong flu outbreak in 1968, which killed at least one million people. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told The Associated Press.

That's the same advice this year: Youngsters will need a shot, just like their parents.

And for kids between the ages of 6 months and 8 years who are getting a first-ever flu vaccination, they'll need two doses a month apart.

Health officials are bracing for a potentially miserable fall and winter The Southern Hemisphere, especially Australia, was hit hard with a flu strain causing severe illness in seniors.

Last year, only about 47 percent of the population was vaccinated.

That H3N2 strain caused infections here last year, too.

And although strains that circulate in the Southern Hemisphere often spread to North America and Europe, there's no guarantee it will make a repeat performance. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

But flu vaccine doesn't protect against colds or other respiratory viruses that people can confuse with influenza.

The regular flu shot comes in versions that protect against either three or four strains of influenza — including that problematic H3N2 strain, another Type A strain known as H1N1, and one or two strains of Type B flu.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist about other options which are available for certain age groups.

For needle-phobes, there's a skin-deep vaccine that uses tiny needles, and a needle-free jet injector that shoots another vaccine through the skin. They're especially vulnerable to flu's dangerous complications because they tend to have more underlying health problems than younger people — and because standard flu shots don't work as well with age-weakened immune systems.

One high-dose version contains four times the usual anti-flu ingredient, while a competitor contains an extra immune-boosting compound.