National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) 2016 is scheduled for the week of December 4th-10th
NIVW was established by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2005 to stress the importance of vaccination through the holidays. Data has shown that the rate of flu vaccination falls after the end of November even though only 40% of people recommended to get the shot have gotten it by that time. This results in many adults and children being vulnerable to the flu. NIVW is meant to serve as a reminder that if you haven't received the flu shot after November, it's not too late. Flu season peaks between December and February and can last until May. The flu shot takes 2 weeks to be fully effective. That's why the sooner a person gets vaccinated the better, but it’s never too late!
Another goal of NIVW is to ensure that those at high risk of serious flu complications remember to get the flu shot. The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months and older, but especially for individuals who are at high risk including: young children, pregnant women, people 65 years and older, and people with chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease. The CDC also encourages vaccination, because those who get the flu can spread it to others who are not protected, such as immunocompromised adults and infants less than 6 months old.
Some people are hesitant to get the flu shot due to some common myths and misconceptions:
Myth #1: You can catch the flu from the flu shot.
False. The flu shot is made from inactivated or dead virus. It can cause some side effects such as fatigue and arm soreness, but it cannot give you the flu. It does take 2 weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective, therefore people can still contract the flu in those 2 weeks. Most flu shots cover 4 strains of flu, so it is also possible for someone who got the shot to contract a different strain but the sickness is usually less severe in patients who received the flu shot.
Myth #2: Healthy people don’t need to be vaccinated.
False. The CDC recommends that anyone 6 months and older should be vaccinated each year. Although people may be healthy, they can spread it to others who are more susceptible.
Myth #3: The flu is just a bad cold.
False. Common symptoms of the flu include: sore throat, runny nose, cough, severe muscle and body aches, and profound fatigue. In the United States alone, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized due to the flu and tens of thousands die each year.
For more flu myths visit: http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/10-flu-myths
To learn more about NIVW visit: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw/index.htm