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2015 National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) Key Messages


The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Flu Vaccination

  • The flu vaccine is the best tool available to protect against this potentially serious disease.
  • Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, missed work due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
  • Despite the unpredictable nature of the flu, you should know:
    • You need the 2015-2016 flu vaccine for optimal protection against the flu this season.
    • Yearly vaccination is needed because:
      • Flu viruses are always changing, and the vaccine is updated each year to better match circulating influenza viruses, and
      • Immune protection from vaccination declines over time so vaccination is recommended every season for the best protection against the flu.
    • It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to build the antibodies your body needs in order to provide protection against the flu.
    • In the United States, flu activity is usually highest between December and February and can last as late as May. As long as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.
    • With flu activity starting to increase and family and friends gathering for the holidays, now is a great time to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones.
  • Another goal of NIVW is to communicate the importance of flu vaccination for people who are at high risk for developing flu-related complications.
  • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people aged 65 years and older.
  • For people at high risk, getting the flu can mean developing serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, or a worsening of existing health conditions, which can lead to hospitalization or death.
  • A full list of “People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications” is available.

NIVW Key Messages & Free Resources

CDC has developed a number of tools and materials to organizations across the country in their vaccination efforts during National Influenza Vaccination Week.