Associations Support CDC’s Flu Shot Campaign
From those who create the vaccine, to front-line vaccinators, associations are taking part in the CDC’s it’s “not too late” campaign encouraging Americans to get a flu shot—even in December.
Hoping to prevent thousands of healthy adults and children from being hospitalized due to flu complications, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is highlighting the usefulness and importance of getting a flu shot during National Influenza Vaccination Week, taking place December 6-12. Throughout the week, the CDC’s message that it’s “not too late” for everyone six months and older to receive their annual flu shot was echoed by health associations across the U.S.
“The flu vaccine can save lives, prevent severe morbidity, and lower healthcare costs, so take advantage of National Influenza Vaccination Week and promote the flu vaccine in your community,” the National Association of County and City Health Officials wrote in a blog post.
Peak flu season is between December and March, NACCHO Senior Program Analyst Lisa McKeown told Associations Now. Given a flu epidemic has not yet occurred this year, there is still time for individuals to get the shot, McKeown said.
The flu shot has prevented 13.6 million cases of the flu, 5.8 medical visits, and about 113,000 flu-related hospitalizations in the U.S. between 2005 and 2011, according to a report from the CDC [PDF]. When individuals get sick and are tested for the flu, the Association of Public Health Laboratories members (public health laboratories) and the CDC examine the effectiveness of flu vaccines as well as the “most common circulating strains in a year,” APHL Infectious Disease Director Kelly Wroblewski told Associations Now.
Flu-related data from around the world is compiled and recommendations are made to manufacturers regarding the types of flu shots that should be created. “It’s a global effort,” Wroblewski said. During a Twitter chat Tuesday, the CDC reported it has seen more reports of the H3N2 flu virus this year, which affects young kids and the elderly more than others.
Composition of flu shots changes each year and different vaccines are created for the Northern and Southern hemispheres. In the Northern hemisphere there are generally two types of vaccines availableㄧa quadrivalent shot that contains four types of the flu and a trivalent shot containing three flu strains.
“Flu vaccination can help protect you and your family from the flu and its complications,” the CDC stressed. Wroblewski agrees and says she’s received her annual flu shot, as has everyone else in Wroblewski’s family, including her six-month-old baby.