FORT LEE, Va. - National Influenza Vaccination Week is this week, Dec. 5-11, which is a great time to bring awareness and highlight the importance of receiving the influenza vaccination.
It is important to be vaccinated for the Influenza (flu) because it is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimates from 2010- to 2020 the flu-related deaths of adults in the United States ranged from a low of 12,000 (during 2011-2012) to a high of 52,000 (during 2017-2018) for adults.
No flu season is alike; it can affect people differently each year. Millions of people get the flu and it can lead to hospitalization and even death. Flu symptoms can mean a few days of feeling bad and missing work or it can result in a more serious illness. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
To help prevent being sick from the annual seasonal flu, receiving the vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children. The CDC reports that from 2010-2020, approximately 80% of flu-related deaths in children have occurred of those who were not vaccinated. While some people who get a flu vaccine may still get sick, flu vaccination has shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness.
It is best to vaccinate before flu begins spreading in your community. September and October are generally good times to be vaccinated against flu. Ideally, everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October. However, even if you are not able to get vaccinated until November or later, vaccination is still recommended because flu most commonly peaks in February and significant activity can continue into May.
Additional considerations concerning the timing of vaccination groups include:
•Adults, especially those 65 years and older, should generally not get vaccinated early (in July or August) because protection may decrease over time, but early vaccination can be considered for any person who is unable to return at a later time to be vaccinated.
• Children can vaccinate as soon as vaccine becomes available, even if this is in July or August. Some children need two doses of flu vaccine. For those children it is recommended to get the first dose as soon as vaccine is available, because the second dose needs to be given at least 4 weeks after the first.
•Early vaccination can be considered for people who are in the third trimester of pregnancy, because this can help protect their infants during the first months of life (when they are too young to be vaccinated).
There are many flu vaccine options to choose from, but the most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or other health care professional.
Kenner Army Health Clinic offers vaccinations as appointment only through TRICARE Online Patient Portal for Beneficiaries through both the Family Medicine and Pediatric Clinics. The Active Duty Clinic offered Influenza Vaccines Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 7-10 a.m. on a walk-in basis.
There will be a Shot-ex by Preventive Medicine at Clark Gym on Dec. 10 from 6 a.m. – noon for active duty members.