National Influenza Vaccination Week

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges parents to vaccinate themselves and their children from the seasonal flu and H1N1 influenza during National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW). NIVW is a national observance established to educate the public about the importance of influenza vaccination and is being held January 10-16, 2010. Originally scheduled to be held in December of 2009, the date was changed to a time that demand for flu vaccines usually decreases significantly. The CDC hopes to encourage more people to get vaccinated to help curb the spread of both H1N1 and the seasonal flu.National Flu Week

“Vaccination is your best protection against seasonal and 2009 H1N1 flu viruses,” says Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC. “Influenza is a contagious disease that can cause symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough, extreme tiredness, runny or stuffy nose, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. Complications can include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and some neurodevelopmental conditions.”

“This year, more than ever, do all you can do to protect yourself and your children from the flu,” says Schuchat. “The 2009 H1N1 flu virus is spreading rapidly. We’re already seeing it attack otherwise healthy children, teens, and young adults. Medical clinics on college campuses are being flooded by persons with influenza. So keep informed, wash your hands often, cover your coughs and sneezes, keep sick children at home, and if you’re sick, stay home from work and get you and your family vaccinated against seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu.”

Children are in the high-risk category for the H1N1 influenza virus, as it seems to have a stronger impact on young, healthy kids than the seasonal flu usually does. It is recommended by the CDC to vaccinate all people ages 6 months to 24 years for H1N1 influenza and seasonal flu and especially any person who has a medical condition that would make them more susceptible to complications of influenza, such as asthma or an immune disorder.

Many people wonder why it is necessary to get an influenza vaccine yearly instead of once, or every few years like other vaccines. The CDC states:

Flu vaccines are effective for a year from the time they are administered. For children ages six months to eight years who have never received a seasonal flu vaccine before, two doses are needed, spaced four weeks apart. One dose will suffice for older children. For the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine, all children through age 9 years should receive two doses.

As for infants younger than six months, the CDC says this:

Children under six months are too young to receive flu vaccine, but they are among the most vulnerable to developing serious, even fatal, complications from flu. This makes vaccination of their family members and caregivers especially critical for their protection.

CDC also recommends that close contacts, especially family members and caregivers of all children less than six months old, get a seasonal flu vaccine each year to provide added protection to this high‐risk group.

If you have questions about whether your child should or should not receive either type of influenza vaccine, please talk with your child’s doctor who can help you determine whether or not to vaccinate and which type of administration (injection aka “flu shot” or the flu mist nasal spray) is the best for your child if you do choose to vaccinate.

For more information and resources about protecting your children from H1N1 and seasonal influenza, please visit

About the Author

Tamara Walker, R.N., aka “MomRN”, is the mom of two teenagers, a registered nurse, a child safety expert and instructor, and host of the “Ask MomRN Show”. Her passions are to help parents as they navigate the journey through parenthood and to protect children of all ages. Her websites are and MomRN has been a member of the PedSafe Expert team


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