Flu Vaccination: It's Not Too Late

Contact: James McCurtis (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

December 8, 2008

LANSING - The Michigan Department of Community Health recognizes National Influenza Vaccination Week, which is held December 8 through December 14, to help spread the message that the flu vaccination is available throughout the winter months.

It is not too late to get a flu shot. Although flu cases have already been confirmed in Michigan, flu activity often does not peak until January or later and influenza can continue to circulate through spring.

This year, there are several designated days for focusing vaccination efforts on the following high-risk groups:

-Tuesday, December 9th - Children's Vaccination Day

-Thursday, December 11th - Seniors' Vaccination Day

-Friday, December 12th - Health Care Workers Vaccination Day

Flu is a serious disease, which can lead to complications such as pneumonia and even death. More than 84 percent of the United States population is recommended to get an annual flu vaccine - that's more than 4 out of 5 people. However, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting flu or of spreading it to a loved one should be vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with Families Fighting Flu, have developed a video, entitled "Why Flu Vaccination Matters," to spread the message that flu is a serious disease - one that can lead to death in otherwise healthy children.

In February, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to expand the recommended ages for annual flu vaccination to include all children 6 months through 18 years of age.

Another group at heightened risk for the negative complications from influenza is pregnant women. Expecting mothers have historically low rates of influenza vaccination. 

According to a recent study, a two-for-one protection against the flu develops when an expecting mother is vaccinated. When a pregnant woman is vaccinated, the unborn child is protected. Emphasizing the importance of vaccination among pregnant women, the National Women's Health Resource Center launched the campaign, Flu Free and a Mom-To-Be.

Pregnant women can receive the flu shot during any trimester of pregnancy. All new parents, grandparents, siblings, babysitters, and contacts of infants should be vaccinated against influenza, as well as pertussis (whooping cough).

The flu vaccine is the single best way to protect against influenza. Anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. For information on receiving the flu vaccine, please contact your doctor's office or your local health department. Visit www.michigan.gov/flu for the most up-to-date flu information.