National Influenza Vaccination Week Focuses
on the Importance of Influenza Vaccination
RALEIGH, NC – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated the week after Thanksgiving (November 26 – December 2) as National Influenza Vaccination Week. The goal of this week is to raise awareness of the importance of continuing influenza (flu) vaccination, and to promote greater use of flu vaccine through the months of December, January and beyond.
The North Carolina Immunization Branch is recommending that people take this opportunity to get vaccinated. “We would like to encourage everyone who has not already done so to be immunized against the flu,” said Beth Rowe-West, Head of the NC Immunization Branch. "Getting vaccinated is the single best way for people to protect not only themselves against flu, but their loved ones as well."
"People tend to lose interest in getting a flu vaccination after Thanksgiving. However, in North Carolina, flu activity typically does not peak until February or later, so people still have plenty of time to get their vaccine,” said Dr. Leah Devlin, NC State Health Director. “National Influenza Vaccination Week is an excellent opportunity for us to remind the public of the importance of influenza vaccination."
At the start of National Influenza Vaccination Week, 103 million flu vaccine doses have already been distributed nationwide. Flu vaccine manufacturers have reported they anticipate 132 million doses of flu vaccine to be distributed this year – an all-time record!
Vaccinations are recommended for anyone who wants to decrease the risk of influenza. While anyone can get influenza, many groups, including people aged 50 years or older, children aged 6 months to 59 months, those with chronic illnesses (heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, diabetes), and pregnant women, are at highest risk for complications. In addition, those in close contact with these high risk persons, such as health care personnel, and healthy household contacts and caregivers of high risk persons, are also at increased risk and should get vaccinated.
Each year in the United States, between 5 and 20 percent of the population is infected with influenza. Approximately 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of influenza complications. Since influenza is unpredictable, and different types and strains of influenza circulate throughout the flu season, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that influenza vaccine be offered throughout the influenza season-- even after influenza has begun to appear in a community.
To find a flu clinic in your area visit www.thecarolinascenter.org/fcf/. For more information about influenza and influenza vaccine visit www.immunizenc.com or www.cdc.gov/flu.
National Influenza Vaccination Week is a collaborative effort of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the CDC, and the National Influenza Vaccine Summit. (For more information about the Summit, please go to http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/13732.html.)