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. 2-8, 2012.
“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 age 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. Thirty-one (31) 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, so there is still sufficient time for people to get vaccinated.
“The flu vaccine protects against three flu viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness that year,” said Schwartz. “This season’s flu vaccine protects against different strains of flu compared to last year’s vaccine, so it’s important to get vaccinated again this season. Getting vaccinated each year is the only 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:
- 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, out-of-home caregivers and household contacts – also should be vaccinated.
For information about vaccine availability, people should contact their local public health unit, health-care provider or pharmacist. For information about influenza, visit www.ndflu.com.
REMEMBER: The flu vaccine can protect not only you, but everyone around you.