The CDC issued the following press release urging people to get immunized this week.
“The week of January 10-16 marks this flu season’s National Influenza Vaccination Week, a national observance established to highlight the importance of ongoing influenza vaccination beyond the fall. Providers are encouraged to continue vaccinating high risk persons with the seasonal vaccine and to expand 2009 H1N1 vaccination to anyone who wants it, regardless of age. Because supply and availability of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine have increased dramatically, CDC is now encouraging people who have been patiently waiting to receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine to get vaccinated as well as continuing to encourage unvaccinated people in priority groups to get vaccinated. Activities during the upcoming week will enhance public awareness about ongoing influenza vaccination efforts. Influenza is unpredictable, but influenza is expected to continue for months, caused by either 2009 H1N1 viruses or regular seasonal influenza viruses.”
People sometimes think that there is a point in the influenza season at which it is too late or not worth being immunized. That is not true. The influenza season can be long, lasting until April or longer. We continue to immunize susceptible people until April each year or until our vaccine is gone. Remember that influenza immunizations are cumulative. A vaccine that you take late in the season may not be needed that year, but it may protect you the next year, or ten years from now.
This week’s CDC influenza update says that H1N1 influenza is still showing up all over the US, Europe, and Central and East Asia. Although the rates are lower than their peak in October, the epidemic is sustaining itself, so you can still get H1N1 influenza almost anywhere in the world. If you have not received your H1N1 vaccine yet, you should get it before the manufacturers stop making it and the supply runs out.