It’s still not too late to get your flu shot

Published 6:17pm Tuesday, December 10, 2013

This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) and it’s an important time to highlight the importance of getting the annual flu vaccination, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

This year’s NIVW is from Dec. 8 through Dec. 14, and the CDC wants to remind citizens that it’s still not too late to get the flu vaccine. Even unvaccinated people who have already gotten sick with one flu virus can still benefit from the vaccination, because it is designed to fight several different strains that are expected to circulate each season.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for anyone 6 months of age or older, and especially for those who are at high risk for developing flu-related complications. Those who are considered at “high risk” include children younger than 5 years old, people older than 65, pregnant women and people with certain long-term medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes, heart disease, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, blood disorders, morbid obesity, kidney and liver disorders, HIV/AIDS and cancer.

The CDC notes that it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to fully respond with the antibodies that develop in the body and provide protection. Flu activity usually peaks in January and can last as long as May.

The CDC is also making a special point to remind parents about some facts concerning getting the flu vaccine for children:

• Children younger than 9 years old who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of vaccine.

• Some children who have received influenza vaccine previously also will need two doses of vaccine this season, in order to be fully protected.

• Your child’s health care provider can tell you if your child will need two doses.

The CDC does not recommend one flu vaccine over another. This includes deciding between trivalent or quadrivalent vaccine or between injection (the flu shot) or nasal spray vaccine. The most important thing is to get a flu vaccine every year. Talk to your doctor or nurse about the best options for you and your loved ones.

For more information about NIVW and the flu, visit online at www.cdc.gov/flu.

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