December 4-10 is National Influenza Vaccination Week

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December 4-10 is National (USA) Influenza Vaccination Week. An annual flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent this serious illness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) established National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. This season’s NIVW is scheduled for December 4-10, 2011.

It’s not too late to vaccinate!

As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination can provide protection against the flu.
Flu activity doesn’t usually peak until January or February in the United States and can last as late as May, so it’s important to vaccinate now if you haven’t already.

An annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. A flu vaccine offers the best protection we have against this serious
disease. Once vaccinated, it takes about 2 weeks for the body’s immune response to fully kick in.

High-risk groups

There are certain people who are at high-risk of developing serious flu-related complications:

·         Pregnant women
·         Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
·         People 65 years of age and older
·         People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions

In addition, there are other people for whom vaccination is especially
important:

·         People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
·         People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:

o    Health care workers
o    Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
o    Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

Some children may need 2 doses of flu vaccine

NIVW reminds parents, guardians and caregivers of children not only about the importance of flu vaccination in general, but the fact that some children may need 2 doses of vaccine this season to be fully protected.

Children younger than 9 years old who did not receive at least 1 dose of last season’s (2010-2011) influenza
vaccine, or those for whom it is unknown whether they received at least 1 dose of the 2010-2011 flu vaccine, will need 2 doses of vaccine this season to be fully protected (even if they received 2 doses in a flu season prior
to the 2010-2011 season). So if your child is younger than 9 and has been vaccinated with one dose, make sure he/she gets a second dose if recommended by their pediatrician.

[Source CDC]