The North Dakota Department of Health is reminding all North Dakotans of the importance of receiving flu vaccine as part of National Influenza Vaccination Week, observed Dec. 7 – 13, 2014.
“Despite some initial delays, there is more than enough flu vaccine available this year for anyone who wants to be vaccinated,” said Amy Schwartz, Immunization Surveillance Coordinator for the North Dakota Department of Health. “Everyone ages 6 months and older is recommended to be vaccinated, regardless of age or health status. It’s important to remember that getting vaccinated not only protects you, but everyone around you as well.”
Influenza vaccinations are available at physician offices, local public health units and pharmacies. Sixty-eight cases of influenza have been reported to the North Dakota Department of Health so far this season. The flu season typically does not peak in North Dakota until after the New Year, but the last two seasons have had early influenza activity. Now is a great time for people to get vaccinated if they have not done so already.
“The flu vaccine protects against flu viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness that year,” said Schwartz. “Protection from vaccination declines over time, so it’s important to get vaccinated again this season. Getting vaccinated each year is the best way to protect yourself and your family each flu season.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone be vaccinated against the flu, especially the following at-risk groups:
- All children ages 6 months through 18 years
- All adults ages 50 and older
- Residents of long-term care facilities
- Pregnant women
- American Indians
- People of any age who have long-term health problems, such as:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Kidney disease
- Weakened immune systems due to HIV/AIDS and cancer treatments
- Breathing problems due to neuromuscular disorders
- Morbid obesity
People who could spread the disease to those at high risk – such as health-care workers, people who care for family members or other sick people in their home, and household contacts – also should be vaccinated.
Fargo Cass Public Health has vaccine. Call 241-1383 to schedule and appointment. Walk-ins welcomed. For information about influenza, visit www.ndflu.com.