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National Influenza Vaccination Week

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[NOV. 24, 2006]  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced the designation of the week after Thanksgiving as National Influenza Vaccination Week. This year, National Influenza Vaccination Week will run from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3.

"Getting vaccinated is the single best way for people to protect not only themselves against flu, but their loved ones as well," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, CDC director. "National interest in getting a flu vaccination has traditionally tapered off after Thanksgiving. Since flu activity typically does not peak until February or later, November and December are also good times to be vaccinated."

"Vaccinations are recommended for anyone who wants to decrease the risk of influenza," said Margie Harris, director of nursing at the Logan County Health Department. "While anyone can get influenza -- and the infection can be severe -- many groups, including people aged 50 years or more, those with chronic illness (heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, diabetes), and pregnant women, are at highest risk for complications.

"In addition, those in close contact with these high-risk persons, such as health care personnel, and healthy household contacts and caregivers of high-risk persons, are also at increased risk and should get vaccinated.

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"For the first time, CDC is also recommending children aged 2 years to 5 years be vaccinated, since they are also considered at risk for complications of flu," said Harris. "Previously, the recommendation was limited to children aged 6 months to 2 years, who are nearly as likely to be hospitalized for complications due to flu, and those aged 65 years and older.

"Children aged 2 years to 5 years are not as likely to be hospitalized as younger children, but are more likely than older, healthy children to see a physician or visit an emergency room for flu," according to Harris.

Flu vaccine is available at the Logan County Health Department Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. for $20, or free for those with a medical card.

[Logan County Health Department news release]


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