Notice to Readers: National Influenza Vaccination Week --- November 27--December 3, 2006
Each year in the United States, approximately 5%--20% of the population is infected with influenza virus, an estimated 200,000 persons are hospitalized from influenza complications, and an estimated 36,000 persons die from influenza. Influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and its severe complications. Anyone who wants to reduce their risk for acquiring influenza should be vaccinated each influenza season. However, annual influenza vaccination is recommended for the following groups (1).
- persons at high risk for influenza-related complications and severe disease, including:
--- children aged 6--59 months,
--- pregnant women,
--- persons aged >50 years,
--- persons of any age with certain chronic medical conditions; and
- persons who live with or care for persons at high risk, including:
--- household contacts who have frequent contact with persons at high risk and who can transmit influenza to those persons at high risk, and
--- health-care workers.
Although influenza vaccination is recommended before or early in the influenza season, persons who are not vaccinated early (particularly those in the recommended groups) should seek vaccination as soon as possible throughout the fall and winter months; influenza viruses can circulate anytime during November--April.
To help raise awareness regarding the importance of influenza vaccination throughout the influenza season, the Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, the National Influenza Vaccine Summit, and other partners have designated November 27--December 3 as National Influenza Vaccination Week. Because of phased vaccine distribution this year, many health-care providers did not receive their full orders of vaccine as early in the influenza vaccination season as they would have preferred; the timing of distribution this season underscores the importance of raising awareness of the benefits of vaccination in November, December, and beyond. CDC encourages state and local health departments, public health partners, and health-care providers to plan vaccination clinics and other activities to promote influenza vaccination. Free materials, including posters and educational flyers, are available at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/gallery.
- CDC. Prevention and control of influenza: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR 2006;55(No. RR-10).
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