National Influenza Vaccination Week

This year, National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is December 7-13, 2014. The NIVW will provide an opportunity for public health professionals, health care professionals, health advocates, communities, and families from across the country to work together to promote flu vaccination before the traditional winter peak in flu activity. Flu seasons are unpredictable and can begin early in the fall and last late into the spring. By focusing on one week in early December, partners can bring together resources and reach people before flu season swings into full gear.

 

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Key Points to Share with Families

 

What You Should Know About Influenza Vaccine

You need a flu vaccine every year for optimal protection; yearly vaccination is needed because:

  • Flu viruses are always changing and new vaccine is made each year so that the vaccine protects against the currently circulating influenza viruses.
  • Immune protection from vaccination declines over time so vaccination is recommended every year for optimal protection.
  • It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to develop full protective immunity.


Flu activity usually peaks in February in the United States and can last as late as May. As long as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late to get vaccinated. It is not a problem if a person gets the flu vaccine late in one season (eg, April or May) and early in the next season (eg, August or September).

With flu activity increasing and family and friends gathering for the holidays, now is a great time to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Some people are at high risk of complications for the flu, including children under 5, especially children younger than 2 years old, and those with chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes mellitus, hemodynamically significant cardiac disease, immunosuppression, or neurologic and neurodevelopmental disorders. The CDC offers more information about persons at high risk.


Some Children May Need 2 Doses

Some children may need two doses of flu vaccine this season to be fully protected. Children younger than 9 years old who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of vaccine. Some children who have received influenza vaccine previously also will need two doses of vaccine this season to be fully protected. Healthcare providers can tell families if their child needs two doses.  

  • The 2009 H1N1 flu virus continues to circulate. It wasn’t added to the seasonal vaccine until the 2010-2011 flu season. This means that children who did not get the monovalent 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine in 2009-2010, or a seasonal flu vaccine in 2010-2011 or later, will not be fully protected from the 2009 H1N1 flu virus until they receive two doses of the 2014-2015 flu vaccine.
  • If your child is younger than 9 and has been vaccinated with only one dose of either the monovalent 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine in 2009-2010 or a seasonal flu vaccine in 2010-2011 or later, make sure he/she gets a second dose if recommended by their doctor.
  • The first dose should be given as soon as vaccine becomes available. The second dose should be given at least 28 days after the first dose.
  • The first dose “primes” the immune system; the second dose provides immune protection. Children who only get one dose but need two doses can have reduced or no protection from a single dose of flu vaccine. If your child has not received a first dose of flu vaccine, get his/her first dose of vaccine now.
  • Children 6 months through 8 years of age who require 2 doses of flu vaccine do not need to get the same kind of vaccine both times; it’s possible to receive the shot or nasal spray for either dose.
  • Everyone 9 years of age and older needs only one dose of 2014-2015 flu vaccine.

You Have Options for Receiving Your Influenza Vaccine

Nasal spray vaccine is available. The nasal spray is an option for healthy, non-pregnant people 2-49 years of age. There also is a “high-dose” vaccine for people 65 and older and an intradermal vaccine with a much smaller needle that is approved for use in people 18 to 64 years old.

 

Influenza Vaccine is Safe

Millions of doses of influenza vaccine have been administered to people safely for decades. Influenza vaccination is recommended in any trimester for all women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant during the influenza season. View the CDC Letter to Providers: Influenza Vaccination of Pregnant Women for more information.

 

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!

Once vaccinated, you can enjoy this holiday season knowing that you have taken the single best step to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu.


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Last Updated: 11/25/2013