Leaders remind Texans that it's not too late to get vaccinated, protect themselves during peak flu season
DALLAS, Dec. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- By December, many Texans may mistakenly feel that it is too late to get vaccinated against the flu. But December through February is the peak season for the flu in Texas and by getting immunized during December, the vaccine will offer several more months of protection. Running concurrently to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Influenza Vaccination week (NIVW) from December 8th – 14th, a wide array of Texas pharmacists, health care organizations, legislators and other government agencies and groups are making a push to educate Texans on the importance of receiving the flu vaccination.
"I commend all the partners who are helping to Vaccinate Texas," said Rear Admiral Epifanio (Epi) Elizondo, who serves as the Regional Health Administrator for Region VI, which includes Texas. "Those of us who work in public health know that we need to do more to increase flu vaccination rates, especially in diverse areas."
Getting vaccinated is the best way for people to protect themselves—and others—from contracting this serious, contagious illness. The CDC recommends that all Americans age six months and older receive a flu vaccination every year. While vaccination offers the best protection against the flu, only about 4 in 10 Texans (41%) age six months and older received the flu vaccine during the 2011 – 2012 flu season, according to the Trust for America's Health. Texans deserves better and this year it is easier than ever to get vaccinated.
Vaccine access has expanded in recent years through legislation allowing pharmacists to give the flu vaccine to adults and children age seven and older, and through the proliferation of immunization clinics in private practice and community settings. Most pharmacies and local health departments have a supply of the vaccine on hand. In addition, many organizations, including churches and community centers, offer walk-in immunization clinics at specific dates and times.
"Public health departments are 'ground zero' when it comes to flu. We track who is getting it, and how quickly it is spreading," said Zachary Thompson, Director of Public Health for Dallas County. "We hate to see anyone get the flu. And we are doing everything we can to encourage more people to get vaccinated. People need to know that it is not too late. Here in Texas, flu season hits its peak in December, January and February, and cases are reported all the way through the spring," concluded Thompson.
According to the Trust for America's Health, an estimated:
- One in five Americans will get the flu this year;
- Anywhere from 3,000 – 49,000 individuals will die from a flu-related illness; more than 200,000 will be hospitalized;
- Every flu shot saves $3.40 in direct medical expenses, and $5.40 in indirect expenses such as missed work;
- The flu costs more than $10 billion in direct medical expenses and $16 billion in lost earnings.
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Elizabeth at (202) 725-8785
SOURCE Pharmacy Choice and Access Now (PCAN)