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Friday December 7, 2018

TIP's Op-Ed Published on National Influenza Vaccination Week

Christmas

It's National Influenza Vaccination Week, and the perfect time of year for you to get your flu shot, if you haven't already. The holidays are when we' come in contact with many more people, which raises the risk that we'll be exposed to influenza.

Wonder why it's so important to get this shot every year? The Immunization Partnership's  President and CEO Allison Winnike's has written a clear-eyed op-ed article on the topic, which was just published by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Winnike writes:

We Americans had the best tool readily available to reduce these numbers by untold thousands. What happened? It’s simple and sad. Too many of us did not use that tool – the flu shot -- for one reason or another. More than 40 percent of children went without flu vaccines, and about half of adults. The numbers were similar to previous flu seasons.

We grieve for those who died and for the families who miss them. In Texas, they include 4-year-old Leon Robert Sidari, the son of two Air Force physicians, who died on Christmas Day. Leon was scheduled to get his flu shot soon. His parents have set up a fund to promote flu vaccinations. Heather Holland, a 38-year-old teacher and mother from North Texas, died of the flu in February. Her husband could not remember whether or not she had been vaccinated. And just recently, an 8-year-old in the Rio Grande Valley died of the flu. The child was not vaccinated for the current flu season.

Now, with a new flu season upon us, we have a chance to honor the memories of these and so many others by reducing the toll that flu takes on our nation. Dec. 2-8 is National Influenza Vaccination Week, the perfect time to get your flu shot. The CDC recommends flu vaccination for most people over the age of 6 months.

Many people who didn’t vaccinate last year had heard that the vaccine was only about 10 percent effective. One lesson we can learn is to put less faith in scuttlebutt and early reports. Even the CDC doesn’t know how effective the vaccine is in any given year until well into the flu season. As it turned out, the vaccine was 36 percent effective in adults, and nearly 60 percent effective in children. That’s not as high as the measles vaccine, but it still amounts to millions of cases of flu that should not have happened.

To see the full article, go here. And then go get your flu shot.

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