The best present this holiday season? A flu shot

If you’re like most people, you’ve been busy the past few months. Fall is such a busy time for many people, and now we’re in the middle of the holiday season and all its activities.

It’s understandable if you haven’t had the chance to get your annual flu shot. But there’s still time. In fact, this week, National Influenza Vaccination Week, would be the perfect time to check a flu shot off your to-do list.

National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is an annual observance in December to remind everyone 6 months and older that there’s still time to get vaccinated against flu. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, including pregnant people and young children. Millions of children get sick with the flu every year, and thousands will be hospitalized as a result. Pregnant people also are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications.

Since flu viruses are constantly changing and protection from vaccination decreases over time, getting a flu vaccine every year is the best way to reduce your risk from flu. A ​flu vaccine is the only vaccine that protects against flu and has been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.

Together, we can use this week as a nationwide call to action to encourage everyone 6 months and older to get their annual flu vaccine, especially pregnant people, young children, and others at higher risk. The more people vaccinated against flu, the more people are protected from flu.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that flu vaccination coverage was lower last season, especially among certain higher risk groups, such as pregnant people and children. When you get a flu vaccine, you reduce your risk of illness, and flu-related hospitalization if you do get sick. 

This week is meant to remind people that there is still time to benefit from the first and most important action in preventing flu illness and potentially serious complications.

While you’re doing that, it’s also a good time to ask your healthcare provider about vaccines for RSV and COVID-19. You can get those vaccinations safely all at the same time to protect yourself and the loved ones you’ll be spending time with over the next month.

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