National Influenza Vaccination Week

'Tis the season - influenza season. And there's still time to get vaccinated! December 1-7, 2019, is National Influenza Vaccination Week and a perfect time to get vaccinated if you haven't already. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months--kids, adults, parents, grandparents--receive a flu shot each year. Protect yourself, your family, your friends, and the pigs you care for.

Remember that "the flu shot" protects you from influenza—a severe and potentially life threatening respiratory viral infection, not diarrhea and vomiting. Below are a few reminders why influenza vaccination is important.

  • During 2017-2018, the CDC estimates that influenza caused
    • 49 million symptomatic influenza 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, and
    • 79,000 deaths--more than the average number of people who attend the Super Bowl each year.
  • Last year, influenza caused 186 pediatric deaths, and 80% of those children were not vaccinated.
  • More than 20,000 children are hospitalized (overnight stay, not outpatient visit) each year.
  • Children younger than 5 are at the highest risk of serious and life-threatening complications from influenza.
    • Children with chronic health conditions are at a higher risk of complications.
    • Babies younger than 6 months are also at a higher risk of complications, but are too young to be vaccinated.
  • Pregnant women who are vaccinated are 40% less likely to be hospitalized from influenza.
  • Influenza can be zoonotic with bidirectional spread between people and pigs.

Need help finding a vaccine? Visit http://flushot.healthmap.org/. Most pharmacies (Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Target, etc.) offer walk-in, no appointment flu shots. Most insurance companies will cover the cost of vaccination 100%.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season by protecting yourself, your family, your friends, your community, and the pigs you care for.