Each day, a different Flu Vaccination Digital Ambassador will post about the importance of flu vaccination as it relates to their readers. You can follow the NIVW conversation on Twitter using hashtag #NIVW2014 and stay tuned as each Digital Ambassador shares who will be posting next.
Follow the “Passing of the Flu Awareness” Torch
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) in 2005 to raise awareness and advocate for the flu vaccination through the winter season and beyond. NIVW is scheduled for December 7-13, 2014.
The “Countdown to NIVW” blog relay schedule:
Monday, December 1: A Place for Mom, adults 65 years and older
Tuesday, December 2: Nurses Who Vaccinate, health care professionals
Wednesday, December 3: Voices for Vaccines, parents and caregivers of young children
Thursday, December 4: Shot of Prevention, pregnant women and parents
Friday, December 5: healtheo360, people with a chronic illness like heart disease or diabetes
Saturday, December 6: HealthCentral, people with asthma
Sunday, December 7: About.com Cold & Flu, people at any age or stage of life
Why it is So Important To Get Yours Today
As winter approaches it is not only important to buy those coats and scarves, but also to prepare for flu season. In recognition of National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), healtheo360 is encouraging everyone to go get a flu shot this season. Flu season begins in October and goes until May, and the best way to protect yourself and those around you is to get the influenza vaccination. The flu shot is modern medicines best answer to those flus that can make you bedridden and miss work. It is NEVER to late to get the flu shot, but the sooner into flu season the better. Anyone 6 months of age or older is encouraged to get vaccinated now.
It's especially important to get flu vaccination for people with chronic illnesses.
While it is important for everyone eligible to get the flu vaccination, those with a chronic illness are at high risk of developing the flu. If you suffer from asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease, or are above 65 years old—it is highly encouraged to get the flu shot. It is also vital for young children and pregnant woman to get protected against the flu. For those at high-risk for the flu, getting the flu has the potential to lead to serious complications. So don’t wait any longer, and get vaccinated. It is never too late!
Information about the flu vaccination
Even if you received the flu shot last year, it is crucial to get it again as the flu virus is always changing and mutating. The protection from the shot the year before also declines, so it will not give optimal defense. Also note that it takes the flu vaccination two weeks to start to provide protection.
Where to get a flu vaccination this winter
Vaccines are available in many places, like doctor’s offices, drug stores, pharmacies, clinics, employers, and schools.
As the holidays approach, the best way to protect yourself and your family is to get vaccinated. The vaccine has been given safely for decades. Everyone 6 months and older should protect themselves—especially those with chronic illnesses who are at a high risk. Parents get your children vaccinated and caregivers make sure to vaccinate your loved ones! Have a fun winter without the dreaded chills and fevers. It is not to late to get vaccinated, but why not just get it done today?
Key Messages from CDC
1. CDC established National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. NIVW is scheduled for December 7-13, 2014.
- Flu vaccination coverage estimates from past years have shown that influenza vaccination activity drops quickly after the end of November. CDC and its partners want to remind you that even though the holiday season has arrived, it is not too late to get your flu vaccine.
- As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination can provide protection against the flu and should continue.
- Even unvaccinated people who have already gotten sick with one flu virus can still benefit from vaccination since the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses (depending on which flu vaccine you receive) expected to circulate each season.
2. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza disease.
3. Another goal of NIVW is to communicate the importance of flu vaccination for people who are at high risk for developing flu-related complications.
- People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease, and people age 65 years and older.
- For people at high risk, getting the flu can mean developing serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, or a worsening of existing health conditions, which can lead to hospitalization or death.
- A full list of “People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications” is available at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm.
4. The flu vaccine is the best way modern medicine currently has to protect against this potentially serious disease.
5. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, missed work due to flu, as well as prevent flu related hospitalizations and deaths.
6. Despite the unpredictable nature of the flu, you should know:
- You need the 2014-2015 flu vaccine for optimal protection against the flu.
- Yearly vaccination is needed because:
i. Flu viruses are always changing and new vaccine is made each year so that the vaccine protects against the currently circulating influenza viruses, and
ii. Immune protection from vaccination declines over time so vaccination is recommended every season for optimal protection.
- It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to build the antibodies the body needs to provide protection against the flu.
- Flu activity usually peaks between December and February in the United States and can last as late as May. As long as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.
- With flu activity starting to increase and family and friends gathering for the holidays, now is a great time to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones.
7. We hope that NIVW will act as a reminder to parents and caregivers of children about the importance of flu vaccination in general and the fact that some children younger than 9 years old may need two doses of flu vaccine this season to be fully protected.
- Children 6 months through 8 years old who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of vaccine.
- Some children in this age group who have received influenza vaccine previously also will need two doses of vaccine this season to be fully protected.
- Your child’s doctor or other health care professional can tell you if your child needs two doses.
8. There are many choices available for flu vaccine, both in terms of where to get vaccinated and what vaccine to get.
- Flu vaccines made to protect against three different flu viruses (called “trivalent” vaccines) are available this season. In addition, flu vaccines made to protect against four different flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines) also are available.
- Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health
departments, retail stores and pharmacies, and health centers, as well as by many employers and schools.
- The most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year, regardless of which vaccine option they choose. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or other health care professional.
9. Millions of doses of influenza vaccine have been administered to people safely for decades.
10. Once vaccinated, you can enjoy this holiday season knowing that you have taken the single best step to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu.