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About National Influenza Vaccination Week

CDC established National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.

NIVW 2018 is scheduled for December 2-8, 2018

NIVW Timing

Flu vaccination coverage estimates from past seasons have shown that few people get vaccinated against influenza  after the end of November.

  • CDC and its partners choose December for NIVW to remind people that even though the holiday season has begun, it is not too late to get a flu vaccine.
  • As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout flu season in order to protect as many people as possible against flu.
  • Vaccination efforts should continue through the holiday season and beyond. It’s not too late to vaccinate.
  • Getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial and should be done as soon as possible before flu begins spreading in your community.
  • Even if you haven’t yet been vaccinated and have already gotten sick with flu, you can still benefit from vaccination since the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses (depending on which flu vaccine you get).

The intense burden of flu

Flu isn’t a “bad cold” and can result in serious health problems (complications), such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. Flu can sometimes even lead to death.

  • Most people who get flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop serious flu complications
  • During the 2017-2018 flu season, CDC estimates flu caused:
    • 49 million flu illnesses – more than the combined populations of Texas and Florida
    • 960,000 flu hospitalizations – more than the number of staffed hospital beds in the United States
    • 79,000 deaths – more than the average number of people who attend the Super Bowl each year
  • All people are at risk for serious flu-related complications and certain groups are at higher risk
  • 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 65 years and older.
  • For people at high risk, getting the flu can be more serious than for other people. Flu is more likely to lead to serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death.
  • Anyone who gets flu can pass it to someone at high risk of severe illness, including children younger than 6 months who are too young to get a flu vaccine.

The Many Benefits of Flu Vaccination

A flu vaccine has many benefits.

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.
  • During the 2016-2017 flu season, flu vaccine prevented an estimated:
    • 5.3 million flu illnesses – about the population of the Atlanta metropolitan area
    • 2.6 million flu medical visits – more than the number of students in all K-12 schools in Florida
    • 85,000 flu hospitalizations – more than the number of hospital beds in California and Oregon
  • Flu vaccination helps prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions.
  • Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy.
    • A 2018 study showed that getting a flu shot reduced a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized with flu by an average of 40 percent.
  • Flu vaccine can be life-saving in children.
    • 2017 study was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from flu.
  • Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated, but still get sick.
  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect the people around you, including those who are most vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

NIVW Key Messages & Free Resources

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

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