National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 7-13, 2014. This is the week which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have designated to help you to get that influenza, or flu, shot you have been putting off all fall.
Perhaps more importantly, the CDC hopes that it reminds you to make sure that the young children and older adults in your life receive the flu vaccine too! And for anyone who is worried about the effects of having the flu vaccine, it will not make you sick.
To be clear, getting the flu shot will not give you the flu.
Dr. Gregory A. Poland, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is quoted in a Reuters’ article as saying, “It is absolutely biologically impossible to get the flu from the vaccine.”
Poland studies the immunogenetics of vaccine response and is well aware of the myth that receiving the flu vaccine will make someone sick with the flu. It will not!
National Influenza Vaccination Week was created in 2005 to emphasize the importance of receiving the annual flu vaccine, and as a side effect, to dispel the myth that the flu vaccine can give you the flu.
The CDC wants to increase the number of people who receive the flu vaccine in the months of December, January, February and beyond, though they do recommend getting the vaccine as early in the season as possible.
Many Americans have already received their flu vaccine this year. As of November 14, 2014, the CDC reported that about 139.7 million doses of this year’s influenza vaccine had been distributed to those who provide vaccinations in the United States.
Many Americans may downplay the importance of getting the flu vaccine, but influenza is a serious disease. For thousands of people each year, it can even be fatal.
Experts, including the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, recommend that everyone over the age of six months receive the flu vaccine. People who are at a higher risk for complications if they contracted the flu are strongly urged to get the vaccine.