The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) first established the National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) in 2005. Its aim is to raise awareness and stress the importance of getting vaccinated during this time of the year when flu season is at its peak. The CDC says that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of the disease by 50 to 60 percent which leaves many questioning its effectiveness.
It's National Influenza Vaccine Week And CDC Wants You To Get The Flu Shot
Influenza can cause serious illness and secondary infections like Pneumonia. It can even cause death or hospitalization. While most people get their vaccine in late fall, experts say the beginning of winter isn't too late. NIVW is a national awareness week focused on highlighting the importance of influenza vaccination. This year, NIVW takes place December 4 to 10, 2016.
"Influenza can start anywhere from October through May. The peak of the season really starts around January so while it takes two weeks to build immunity, you really have enough time to get the maximum benefit from the influenza vaccine," said Amy Romandine Kratz, with Primary Care Sports Medicine at Prevea Health.
According to CDC, as long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination can still provide protection. Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and March in the U.S. although activity can last as late as May. Flu activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks; the sooner you get vaccinated, the more likely you are to be protected against the flu.
Who Needs A Flu Vaccine?
"The flu vaccine protects against four strains of influenza," Southern Tier Pediatrics Pediatrician Dr. Tina Nichols said to My Twin Tiers. "The people who make the vaccine have to make it well in advance of flu season, because they try to predict what strains are going to be active that year. Some years they're right on... other years, not so right on, so it's sort of a guess."
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu viruses. This season, CDC recommends the use of injectable the flu vaccines and not the nasal spray flu vaccine. Vaccination to prevent flu is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza.
For more information, you may visit CDC's NIVW site here.