December 9, 2013
Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) recognizes National Influenza Immunization Week, December 8-14, 2013, to highlight the importance of getting vaccinated against seasonal flu. The Immunization Program in DPHS wants to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of vaccination against seasonal influenza.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that yearly flu vaccination begins as soon as flu vaccine becomes available. By getting vaccinated now before getting together with family and friends for the holidays will help protect the ones you care about.
Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness that can result in severe illness, hospitalization, or even death for some patients. Typical symptoms include cough, muscle aches, fever, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and fatigue. Certain populations are at greater risk of complications from the flu and should be sure to receive the vaccine every year.
“In recent years DPHS and the Immunization Program have been working with local partners to host school-based clinics in their districts,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “Since September, 92 school-based clinics have been held and it is expected that approximately 5,500 students will be immunized this influenza season at their schools. I want to thank and commend all the people in the towns and at the schools who worked so hard to make this happen.”
“If you won’t get vaccinated for yourself,” continued Montero, “do it for the ones you love and care for. Remember too, that all routinely recommended vaccines for children in New Hampshire are available at no cost to parents. Contact your healthcare provider for more information.”
In the 2012-2013 flu season, 48.9% of people who were eligible received a flu vaccine in New Hampshire. As long as flu viruses are still circulating, it is not too late to be vaccinated. Flu season has just begun and generally runs until May. There are plenty of doses of flu vaccine available in New Hampshire and it is recommended for everyone who is at least 6 months of age.
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, retail stores and pharmacies, and health care centers, as well as employers and some schools. To find a clinic near you visit http://flushot.healthmap.org/. To learn more about National Influenza Vaccination Week visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw/. To find out more about the NH Immunization Program go to http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/immunization/index.htm.