National Influenza Vaccination Week

The CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named December 8-14, 2008, National Influenza Vaccination Week and has designated specific days of this week to represent different age groups.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) wants to remind nurses and all health care workers of the importance of getting immunized against the flu each year. The flu shots are not cumulative and do not protect from one year to the next. This is an important point we make to our patients, and one we all need to heed ourselves.

With nursing shortages and the looming possibility of cutbacks by hospitals. clinics and other health care settings due to the poor economic situation, it is perhaps even more important for nurses to take measures to stay well and be able to go to to work.

Tuesday, December 9 is Children’s Vaccination Day. Each year in the U.S. 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized with influenza or complications from it.

Thursday, December 11 is Senior’s Vaccination Day. Seniors are always a high risk group for pneumonia and other complications from the flu and should be vaccinated every year.

Friday, December 12 is Health Care Worker Vaccination Day. Hospitals, clinics and other facilities are holding special immunization clinics to ensure all of their workers are vaccinated. Nurses who work with direct patient care are highly recommended to be vaccinated each year. Those who work with any high risk group such as HIV/AIDS or other immunocompromised patients need to protect themselves, but also their patients from the spread of the flu virus.

Last year only 42% of health care workers were vaccinated against the flu virus. Yes, it was a poor vaccine last year, but this is an alarming low number. Each year 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized with flu virus and complications. And 36,000 die every year.

Receiving the flu vaccine helps to protect yourself, your patients, your family and your community. Do your part….please!

For more information see the CDC site.

photo: Microsoft.com