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    National Influenza Vaccination Week Highlights Importance of Flu Vaccine

    National Influenza Vaccination Week Highlights Importance of Flu Vaccine

    Photo By Bernard Little | This year’s National Influenza Vaccination Week, observed Dec. 5-11, serves as a...... read more read more



    Story by Bernard Little 

    Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

    This year’s National Influenza Vaccination Week, observed Dec. 5-11, serves as a reminder for people 6 months and older who haven’t received the flu vaccine, there’s still time to get it.
    National Influenza Vaccination Week highlights the importance of continuing flu vaccinations through the holiday season and beyond. With the holidays come increased travel and exposure to others and crowds, heightening chances for exposure to germs.
    “As we start to travel more and lessen COVID-19 restrictions, we are starting to see increase in flu activity in the United States,” said Navy Capt. (Dr.) Rachel Lee, chief, Allergy Immunology and Immunizations at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and associate professor at the Uniformed Services University.
    “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu shot. Both COVID-19 and flu vaccines are needed this season as recommended, and both can be given at the same time if you haven’t already gotten your COVID-19 vaccine,” Lee added.
    WRNMMC beneficiaries and staff can receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccine at the COVAX/Flu site in Building 19, first floor at the medical center. Flu vaccines are walk-in and administered between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
    “If times and locations are inconvenient for Military Health System beneficiaries, Tricare covers the flu vaccine at most local pharmacies,” Lee continued.
    The Navy captain explained although flu activity usually peaks between December and February following the holidays, flu activity sometimes occurs as late as May. “The best time to get your flu vaccine is before the flu spreads in your community, so get the vaccine now,” said the doctor.
    “Due to the pandemic’s challenges and impact on our lives during the past two years, getting any respiratory infection has significant repercussions,” Lee continued. “In addition to the risks of the illness itself, there are other significant strains or our families, workplaces, schools and social activities. For example, if a child gets sick, the child must now quarantine for 10 days and get multiple negative tests, and that means missing a lot of school and the parent missing a lot of work.”
    “The pandemic has helped more people recognize the importance of prevention because of the significant health and social impacts of these vaccine-preventable infections. We’re all in this together, so do your part and get your flu vaccine,” Lee added.
    The CDC recommends that anyone over the age of 6 months get the flu vaccination. Getting vaccinated is especially important for those who are at a high risk of experiencing flu-related complications. These groups of people include:
    • Adults over the age of 65
    • Pregnant women
    • Young children
    • Children with neurologic conditions
    • Individuals with asthma, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and cancer
    • Individuals with heart disease
    Wagner explained those who should talk to their health-care provider before getting a flu vaccine include people with a previous history of a severe allergic or anaphylactic reaction to the flu vaccine or any of the components of the vaccine. “However, there are different formulations that may have different ingredients, so getting a referral to see the allergist may be helpful in identifying whether a patient is truly allergic to the vaccine, or may tolerate a different type of flu vaccine,” she added.
    Although all people are at risk for getting the flu, young children, children with neurologic conditions, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals, and those with heart conditions are at most risk for more serious illness or death from the flu, according to the CDC. Getting vaccinated is especially important for these individuals, who are at a high risk of experiencing flu-related complications. “Also, even if an individual is not at high risk, they may infect others who are at high risk,” Lee stated.
    Lee added while there may be some mild side effects in getting the flu vaccine for some people, there are far greater benefits to being vaccinated than not. “All vaccines may have some side effects, which is balanced against the benefits of preventing illness and death. Common side effects include injection site pain and/or swelling, fatigue, body aches, fever and headache,” she explained.



    Date Taken: 12.06.2021
    Date Posted: 12.06.2021 13:18
    Story ID: 410517
    Location: BETHESDA , MD, US 

    Web Views: 99
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