The National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is a national awareness week focused on highlighting the importance of influenza vaccination.
As flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread this season, getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever. Here are five reasons why you should:
1. Helps Keep You Healthy
Flu can cause signs and symptoms; such as fever, cough, and body aches, that can keep a healthy person home from work, school, and errands for a few days to a week or more.
The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year. Flu vaccination helps prevent millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor visits each year. CDC estimates that influenza vaccination during the 2019–2020 influenza season prevented 7.52 million illnesses, 3.69 million medical visits, 105,000 hospitalizations, and 6,300 deaths associated with influenza.(1)(3)
2. Beat the Bug
Flu vaccination can reduce doctor visits due to flu. Several studies have shown flu vaccination can reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick. And during seasons when the flu vaccine viruses are similar to circulating flu viruses, flu vaccine was shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40% to 60%.(2)
3. Care for Each Other
You may think of flu vaccine only as a way to protect yourself from flu. But getting vaccinated also may protect the people around you. Many people in the U.S. are at higher risk of getting very sick from flu because of their age, or because they have one or more of certain health conditions, like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease. Also, some people in your family or community may not be able to get vaccinated due to their age (children younger than 6 months, for example).(4) They rely on you to help prevent the spread of disease. When you get a flu shot, you help protect them.
Help CDC promote flu vaccination in conversations with friends, family, and neighbors, and post to followers on social media using resources available in this year’s #SleeveUp to #FightFlu digital media toolkit.
4. Help the Health Care System
Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during the 2020-2021 season. A flu vaccine this season can help protect you and the people around you from flu, reduce the burden of flu on our health care systems during the COVID-19 pandemic, and save medical resources for the care of COVID-19 patients.
Since health care workers are needed to care for people sick with COVID-19 and may care for or live with people at high risk for influenza-related complications, it is especially important for them to get vaccinated.(5)
5. It’s Not Too Late
National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 6-12) is focused on highlighting the importance of influenza vaccination. It’s not too late for anyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine. Laboratory-confirmed flu activity is low now, according to the Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report (or FluView).
CDC has worked with vaccine manufacturers to have extra flu vaccine available this flu season. Manufacturers have distributed 197.4 million doses of flu vaccine this season so far. Use the VaccineFinder to find yours.
Thanks in advance for your questions and comments on this Public Health Matters post. Please note that the CDC does not give personal medical advice. If you are concerned you have a disease or condition, talk to your doctor.
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