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Flu Season Starts Early—Did you get your flu shot?
12/4/2012

All signs point toward an early

All signs point toward an early flu season this year, one that CDC officials are warning could be a bad one. The incidence of influenza cases has increased over the last two weeks, with 5 southern states reporting significant jumps in flu activity. Dr. Melinda Wharton, Acting Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, released a statement on Monday, December 3 stating, “Increasing flu activity should be a wake-up call. For anyone who has put off vaccination: It’s time to get your flu vaccine now.”

This flu season is off to the earliest start since 2003-2004, when more than 48,000 lives were claimed by the influenza virus. However, the flu vaccine that year provided very little immunity from the influenza strains of that season and the vaccination rate during that time was much lower than it is today. Fortunately this year’s vaccine seems to be well-matched against the viral strains that have been identified thus far, with H3N2 viruses being reported most often. Dr. Wharton and the CDC have estimated over 37% of Americans have been vaccinated, but millions of others are vulnerable and should still receive the flu vaccine.

This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) and there is no better time to promote the influenza vaccine to those who have not yet been vaccinated. This season’s well-matched vaccine can prevent hospitalization and death, especially among the elderly and healthcare workers, America’s most vulnerable populations.

For more information on NIVW and the activities that the CDC has planned, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw/index.htm.

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