Flu prevention takes center stage

November 19, 2007

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated November 27 to December 2 as National Influenza Vaccination Week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated November 27 to December 2 as National Influenza Vaccination Week. In an effort to raise awareness about the importance of vaccinating children, especially those with chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma, November 27 is set aside as Children’s Flu Vaccination Day. More than 20‚000 children in the US are hospitalized each year due to flu or flu-related complications‚ and nearly 100 children younger than 5 years die from the infection.

The Childhood Influenza Coalition, made up of 25 of the nation’s leading public health, medical, patient, and parent groups, is also calling for an increase in childhood influenza immunization rates. The Coalition further encourages health care practitioners to use every opportunity to vaccinate against flu, during well-child, follow-up, or acute care visits, and to begin immunizing as soon as vaccine becomes available.

Meanwhile‚ on October 24, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to approve the use of the live attenuated intranasal influenza vaccine‚ FluMist‚ for children ages 2 to 5. The committee also recommended including FluMist in its Vaccines for Children program‚ making it available to the millions of children enrolled in Medicaid‚ Native American and Alaskan natives‚ and those who do not receive vaccination benefits.

Promotional flu materials and other information can be obtained at www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/flugallery/ or www.prevent.childhoodinfluenza.org/.