It’s Not Too Late to Fight the Flu
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 year, NIVW is taking place December 2-8.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. This season, the CDC recommends flu shots only (not the nasal spray vaccine). Some people are at high risk for serious flu-related complications that can lead to hospitalization and even death. People at high risk include pregnant women, children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old, people 65 years of age and older, and people who have certain medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease. For those at high risk of serious flu complications, getting a flu vaccine is especially important. Anyone who cares for person(s) at high risk, including children younger than 6 months who are too young to get a flu vaccine, should also get vaccinated.
While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity is usually highest between December and February, though activity can last as late as May. Flu vaccination coverage estimates from past seasons have shown that fewer than half of people who should get vaccinated against influenza actually do so, and the number of vaccinations drops off dramatically after the end of November. As long as flu viruses are circulating, especially during holiday gatherings, it’s not too late to get vaccinated, even in January or later.
References and Resources
CDC Influenza Website
CDC Influenza Resources for Providers
Influenza summary map – CDC’s weekly update on flu activity in the United States
Facts about seasonal flu vaccines
People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications
HealthMap Vaccine Finder