The Center for Disease Control first 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 will be taking place from December 7th to the 13th. Recent estimates have shown that flu vaccination drops off towards the end of November; it is not too late to get your influenza shot today.
An annual flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent this serious illness. According to the CDC, everyone 6 months of age or older should be getting a flu shot once a year. After receiving a flu shot, it takes about two weeks for the body’s immune system to fully take over.
Why Get Vaccinated?
Receiving the flu vaccine is as critical to your health as it is to those around you. In a study measuring deaths from the flu between 1976 and 2007, a high of 49,000 deaths were caused in a single season by the flu. Flu season in the United States runs from October through May and during these months people are much more prone to becoming infected. If more people get vaccinated, there is less of a possibility of the flu spreading throughout our communities.
Getting your flu shot not only prevents you from becoming sick it also protects those around you from catching the disease. Flu vaccination can make your illness less severe if you do become sick, and can prevent from serious medical outcomes, such as hospitalization. The flu shot can protect those who are already facing a greater risk of getting seriously ill from the flu like older adults, people with chronic health conditions and young children.
What to Expect from Your Flu Shot
The flu vaccine, given either as a shot or taken via nasal spray, cannot cause the flu. Both contain either weakened forms of the flu virus or viruses that are not infected, therefore, getting a flu vaccine cannot give you the virus. However, there are various side effects to expect after receiving a flu vaccination. Among them are: soreness where the shot was given, low grade fever and achiness.
The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent falling ill from influenza this year. Go to your physician, local pharmacy or use the Flu Vaccine Finder to find a clinic near you. Take the proper precautions to keep yourself, your loved ones and your friends healthy this season, start by getting a flu shot.
Jaime Venditti, State Coordinator, New York Health Works