National Influenza Vaccination Week in Full Swing
January 10-16 marks the annual national observance that highlights the importance of ongoing influenza vaccination. This flu season has presented communities across the country with a unique challenge to fight not only the seasonal flu but also a new type of influenza—the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus.
Between April and mid-November 2009, there were approximately 47 million cases of 2009 H1N1 flu, more than 200,000 hospitalizations, and nearly 10,000 deaths. Although flu activity has declined in recent weeks, it is expected to continue throughout the season, which can last until May each year. Therefore, now is NOT the time to become complacent. No one knows what will happen with the H1N1 flu virus over the coming months; however, a third wave and ongoing outbreaks of disease are anticipated.
Encouraging more people to get vaccinated over the next several weeks could prevent serious illness and death. The Michigan Department of Community Health urges health care providers to take the opportunity NOW to vaccinate themselves and their patients against the H1N1 flu since vaccination is the most effective prevention method.
National Influenza Vaccination Week activities this week are aimed at increasing public awareness about ongoing influenza vaccination efforts. Every day of the week is designated to highlight the importance of influenza vaccination for different groups:
- January 11: General audience and health care workers
- January 12: People with chronic health conditions that put them at high-risk of serious influenza-related complications
- January 13: Children, pregnant women, and caregivers of infants younger than 6 months old
- January 14: Young adults 19-24 years old
- January 15: Seniors
To learn more about National Influenza Vaccination Week, go to www.flu.gov/news/nivw.html. There you will find a calendar of events happening at the national, regional, and state level; materials for use during the week; web tools like buttons, banners, and podcasts; and resources for health professionals.