It’s National Influenza Week, Providing Important Reminder about Importance of Flu Shots
December 02, 2019
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has named December 1–7 National Influenza Vaccination Week, highlighting the importance of influenza vaccination, even now that the holiday season has begun.
The CDC reports that flu season occurs during the fall (increasing during October) and winter, but can linger as long as May. Peak activity typically occurs between December and February.
While CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October so that people are more likely to be protected against flu when activity picks up, they note that vaccination into December and beyond can be beneficial during most flu seasons, including this one.
According to the CDC, a flu shot is the single best protective measure against the flu, and everyone aged six months or older should be vaccinated. Additional benefits can include:
- Reduced severity for those who are vaccinated but still get the flu
- Increased flu prevention for expectant mothers and babies several months after birth
- Reduced hospitalizations
- Increased protection for others, especially those who are more vulnerable to severe illness (herd immunity)
On December 3 at 2:30 p.m., the CDC will offer a free interactive webinar for consumers to directly engage with a CDC subject matter expert and ask questions about flu and flu vaccine. It will also provide an overview of flu vaccine benefits and why flu is so dangerous.
According to the most recent data available, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) has categorized the flu activity across the state as “regional,” noting that Flu activity is increasing in all state regions; however, it is below the HHS’s regional epidemic threshold. DOH also notes that:
- More than 1,600 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases have been reported season-to-date
- Confirmed reports were received from 60 of 67 counties
- A total of 58 flu associated hospitalizations and five flu associated deaths have been reported season-to-date
HAP encourages the public and health care providers to take preventive steps and get an influenza vaccine. The elderly, young children, pregnant women, and caregivers can be especially vulnerable during the influenza season.
HAP’s clinical and emergency preparedness teams monitor the progress of flu season and work with Pennsylvania’s hospital community to assess key needs.
For additional information about prevention efforts, contact Rob Shipp, HAP’s vice president, quality and population health, or Mark Ross, HAP’s vice president, emergency preparedness.