National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 8-14, 2013, is an opportunity to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through December and into the spring. Flu vaccination coverage estimates from past years have shown that influenza vaccination activity drops quickly after the end of November. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older to protect against influenza.
“During this time of year, family and friends are gathering for the holidays, so now is a great time to get your flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones,” said Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd. “Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, work absences, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.”
Although anyone can get the flu, some individuals are at greater risk for serious flu-related complications such as hospitalization or worsening of existing chronic conditions. Those at high-risk include children younger than 5 years, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, blood disorders, morbid obesity, kidney and liver disorders, HIV/AIDS, and cancer.
“Flu vaccination should also be a priority for individuals who live with or care for persons at higher risk for influenza-related complications, said Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito. “This includes healthcare personnel and household contacts of children less than 6 months of age, since children younger than 6 months are too young to receive the flu vaccine.”
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, community health centers, local health departments and pharmacies. New Jersey residents can visit the Flu Vaccine Finder at http://nj.gov/health/flu/findflushot.shtmlto find flu clinics near to them.
For information on flu vaccines available this flu season, visit CDC’s seasonal flu website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/index.htm. CDC does not recommend one flu vaccine over another-the important thing is to get your flu vaccine every year. Some children may needs two doses of flu vaccine this season to be fully protected. Talk to your health care provider about the best options for you and your loved ones. [TLS]