There’s no better time to vaccinate than during National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 2-8.
Here at Mercy Urgent Care, we want to remind you that yearly vaccination against the flu is important to stopping its spread. Each year, the strain of the virus varies — so last year’s shot won’t protect you against this year’s viral onslaught.
While it varies from season to season, between 5 and 20 percent of the United States population comes down with the flu each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2017/2018 flu season infected around 49 million people, caused 960,000 hospitalizations and resulted in an estimated 79,000 deaths.
Even if you’re feeling fit to fight the flu, remember: It’s not only your health that’s at stake. When you protect yourself against influenza, you help stop the spread of contagions to others — and plenty of people are at-risk for serious flu-related complications. You might even save a life.
At-risk individuals — and those in regular contact with at-risk individuals — are highly recommended to receive flu vaccinations each season. Those at a higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu include:
- Children younger than five (and especially children between six months and two years old)
- Adults age 65 and older
- Pregnant women (or women up to two weeks postpartum)
- Residents of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
- American Indians and Alaska Natives
- People with the following medical conditions:
- Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions
- Chronic lung disease
- Heart disease
- Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
- Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes)
- Kidney disorders
- Liver disorders
- Metabolic disorders
- Weakened immune systems (such as people with HIV or AIDS, cancer or those on chronic steroids)
- Extreme obesity
The CDC established National Influenza Vaccination Week in 2005 to remind the public of the importance of getting vaccinated annually — and, even in December, it’s not too late. Though the bulk of the population gets vaccinated at the start of flu season, in October and November, vaccination can and should continue through the holidays and beyond, protecting as many people as possible.
(If you need a visual to drive the point home, take a week-by-week look at past and present flu seasons with the CDC’s Influenza Surveillance Map: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/usmap.htm )
Flu shots are still available at Mercy Urgent Care for individuals ages 5 and up. Vaccinations cost $34.99 before insurance, and, to celebrate the recent opening of Mercy’s new Burnsville facility, flu shots at that location are $20 through the end of December.
Celebrate National Influenza Vaccination Week right by protecting yourself against the flu — and urging others to vaccinate too — before the height of the season in January/February.