HHS Launches National Influenza Vaccination Week
Monday, Nov. 27, 2006
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, along with other Federal health officials, today kicked off National Influenza Vaccination Week by urging Americans who have not gotten flu vaccinations yet to get them before flu season peaks. National Influenza Vaccination Week runs from November 27 through December 3.
“Getting a flu vaccination is a holiday gift you can give now to yourself and your family,” Secretary Leavitt said. “Many people visit relatives with infants or those at high risk of complications from flu around this time of year -- vaccination is your chance to protect them. We want Americans to catch the holiday spirit, not the flu.”
Flu vaccine makers have produced a record amount of vaccine to distribute this flu season. To make vaccination more convenient, HHS and its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) call on the providers to extend their hours and locations, such as clinics for holiday shoppers at malls.
“While most people think of flu season as happening in the fall, flu activity typically peaks in February or later,” said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. “For that reason, we strongly recommend vaccination throughout November and December and into January. It’s not too late to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
A record number of influenza vaccine doses will be manufactured this year, and distribution continues throughout the season. As of November 17, a record 92 million doses have already been distributed. Additional doses are still being shipped from manufacturers and will continue to be distributed to providers throughout November and into early December. With a total of 110-115 million doses expected to be available this year, anyone who wishes to protect themselves and their families should be able to get vaccinated.
Each year in the United States, 5 percent to 20 percent of the population is infected with influenza, about 36,000 people die from the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of influenza complications.
The flu can affect otherwise-healthy adults and children, as well as people with weaker immune systems such as infants and the elderly.
Flu vaccine is especially recommended for those 50 and older, those with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, children six months until their fifth birthday, health care workers, and household contacts and caregivers of high-risk persons.
National Influenza Vaccination Week is a collaborative effort of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including CDC, and the National Influenza Vaccine Summit. The following organizations and manufacturers have lent their support to this nationwide effort to encourage Americans to get vaccinated:
* National Influenza Vaccine Summit
* American Academy of Family Physician
* American Academy of Pediatrics
* American College of Physicians
* American Lung Association
* American Medical Association
* American Public Health Association
* National Association of County & City Health Officials
* National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
* sanofi pasteur
Statements of support from all of these organizations along with information on National Influenza Vaccination Week can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw06.htm. For complete information on flu prevention, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu.
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