Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that this is National Influenza Vaccination Week. Held between Dec. 6 and Dec. 12, National Influenza Week is designed to inform the public about the importance of influenza vaccination throughout the holiday season and into the new year.
Throughout the week, events will emphasize the importance of vaccination, using digital influenza vaccine promotions, educational opportunities, and media briefings.
Influenza activity is greatest between December and February in the United States, although the influenza season can last until May. It can take about 2 weeks for the immune response to prevent the virus, so officials with the CDC recommend getting vaccinated sooner to avoid the flu when activity picks up local communities.
“CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu viruses,” according to CDC recommendations on the agency’s website. “A flu vaccine offers the best protection against this serious disease.”
Vaccine options for the 2015 to 2016 season include standard dose trivalent shots, high-dose trivalent shots, an intradermal trivalent shot, and standard dose quadrivalent shots, which can also be given as a nasal spray.
People at high risk for developing influenza include pregnant women, children younger than 5 years of age, individuals older than 65 years of age, and individuals of any age with chronic medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. Individuals who are at high risk for the flu are also at risk for flu-related complications like pneumonia and bronchitis.
The CDC also notes that influenza vaccination for people who live in nursing homes, health care workers, and household contacts of individuals at high risk is especially important.
Throughout week, the CDC encourages the public to help spread the word and asks that anyone getting a vaccination post a photo or video to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube to be displayed on the CDC’s interactive #VaxWithMe timeline.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Fight the Flu! Accessed: Dec. 7, 2015. http://www.cdc.gov/features/fighttheflu/index.html