The flu season is here, but it’s not too late to get vaccinated. That’s the message from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), December 4-10. The agency is using print materials, web tools, images, and animations to raise awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated, not just during the fall but through the upcoming winter holidays and beyond.
The timing is important because, according to the CDC, only 40% of Americans who need flu shots get them by the end of November. Among NIVW’s goals is to encourage high-risk groups like pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, people 65 years and up, and young children to get vaccinated.
During the 2014 to 2015 flu season, CDC reported 148 flu-related pediatric deaths. In addition to loss of life, failure to get a flu vaccine can take a huge economic toll. Some estimates put the flu’s total economic burden at approximately $87 billion annually, and studies show that getting children vaccinated could save parents as much as $4,000 in out-of-pocket medical costs.
The CDC is encouraging NIVW partners and members of the public to use the #FightFlu hashtag on social media to spread the word about why it’s so important to get a flu shot.
For more information and to access an online toolkit with resources, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw.