CDC National Influenza Vaccination Week highlights importance of getting a flu vaccine

Dec. 2, 2019

The National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is a national awareness week sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), focused on highlighting the importance of influenza vaccination.

The National Influenza Vaccination Week serves as a reminder that even though the holiday season has arrived, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine. This week is an opportunity to encourage colleagues, patrons and community members to protect themselves against flu and prevent influenza-associated hospitalizations.

As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout flu season in order to protect as many people as possible against flu. Vaccination efforts should continue through the holiday season and beyond. It’s not too late to vaccinate. While vaccination is recommended before the end of October, getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial during most seasons for people who have put it off.

Even if have already gotten sick with flu, you can still benefit from vaccination since many different flu viruses spread during flu season and most flu vaccine protects against four different flu viruses.

Flu isn’t a “bad cold” and can result in serious health complications, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, and can lead to hospitalization. Flu can sometimes even lead to death. Most people who get flu will recover in several days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop serious flu complications. All people are at risk of developing serious flu complications and certain groups are at higher risk. For people at higher risk, flu is more likely to lead to serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death.

People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people 65 years and older. Anyone who gets flu can pass it to someone at high risk of severe illness, including children younger than six months who are too young to get a flu vaccine.

There are many reasons to get a flu vaccine each year. Below is a summary of the benefits of flu vaccination, and selected scientific studies that support these benefits: 

•             Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2016-2017, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 5.3 million influenza illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations.

•             In seasons when the vaccine viruses matched circulating strains, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent.

•             Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working age adults, and older adults.

•             Flu vaccine prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year. For example, during 2016-2017, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 85,000 flu-related hospitalizations. 

A 2014 study showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74 percent during flu seasons from 2010-2012. In recent years, flu vaccines have reduced the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations among adults on average by about 40 percent. A 2018 study showed that from 2012 to 2015, flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with flu by 82 percent.

Flu vaccination also helps prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions.  Vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac among people with heart disease, especially among those who had had a cardiac event in the past year. Flu vaccination also has been shown in separate studies to be associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease.

The National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is a national awareness week sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), focused on highlighting the importance of influenza vaccination.

The National Influenza Vaccination Week serves as a reminder that even though the holiday season has arrived, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine. This week is an opportunity to encourage colleagues, patrons and community members to protect themselves against flu and prevent influenza-associated hospitalizations. A 2017 study showed that flu vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized flu patients.

A 2017 study showed that flu vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized flu patients.

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