December 4, 2012 5:42 am
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Influenza Vaccination Week serves as an annual national observance to highlight the importance of influenza vaccination through the holiday season, into January and beyond. The peak of flu season has occurred anywhere from late November through March, most frequently in February. In fact, as long as influenza viruses are in circulation, it is beneficial to get vaccinated. After immunization, it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to help protect against the virus.
"Everyone should be vaccinated this year and every year," said Norman H. Edelman, M.D., chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. "National Influenza Vaccination Week serves as a reminder to the public that there's still time to get vaccinated this flu season. With vaccination options for all age groups – children, adults and seniors – people should talk with their health care provider to find the option that's right for them and their family."
Each year in the U.S., on average, influenza and its related complications result in approximately 226,000 hospitalizations. Depending on virus severity during the influenza season, deaths can range from 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. Despite this, immunization rates in the U.S. continue to fall short of public health goals; according to CDC data, only 42 percent of those recommended for annual vaccination were immunized in the 2011-2012 season. Parents also need to know that children six months through eight years of age who are getting a flu shot for the first time need to receive two doses approximately one month apart for optimal protection.
Source: American Lung Association
Published with permission from RISMedia.