Celebrate 2019 Protected From the Flu
Influenza infection rates increase during January and February most years
Health experts have reported 2018 is coming to a positive end regarding 2018 influenza vaccination rates.
On December 14, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 46 percent of children had been vaccinated, which is a 17 percent increase, from the same time last year.
And, the highest vaccination rates were among those age 6 months to 4 years (57%) followed by ages 5-12 (46%) and teens (35%).
This is good news, especially for infants.
Since October 1, 2018, through the CDC’s Week #49 report, there have been 6 pediatric deaths related to influenza.
This is a significant improvement when compared with the 185 pediatric deaths reported by the CDC during the 2017/18 season.
And, there is more good news regarding adults.
The CDC also reported that the adult vaccination rate also increased, with 45 percent receiving the flu shot, compared to 39 percent last year.
But, there is plenty of room for improvement.
“A lot of people, children, and adults remain unvaccinated and we really need to focus on getting them vaccinated. And the sooner the better,” said Ram Koppaka, M.D., Ph.D., associate director for adult and influenza immunization in the CDC’s Immunization Services Division, as reported by AAP News.
Generally, the influenza virus engulfs most northern states when it’s snowing each year, and continues through early spring.
However, in 75 percent of recent influenza seasons, the peak flu activity had not occurred until January or later, regardless of where you live, says the CDC.
Moreover, in 58 percent of previous flu seasons, the peak activity was actually reported in February or later.
"Flu shots reduce your risk of serious illness, but they are not effective if you don’t get one," said Chris Felton, PharmD Clinical Pharmacist, MTM and Immunization Specialist for Brookshire Grocery Company.
"Every year I see patients rush to get their flu shot after the news media runs a story about widespread influenza outbreaks, but this is not a wise strategy. Everyone, especially patients at risk for complications, should be immunized before the outbreaks are reported," continued Felton.
Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists all say ‘that it isn’t too late to get your flu shot in 2018.’
Most pharmacies in the USA continue to offer flu vaccinations through the holiday season.
To schedule a vaccination appointment, please visit this website.
The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information.
And, flu vaccine discounts can be found here.
Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the CDC.