Health and Family Services Cabinet
Get Vaccinated Against Flu During National Influenza Vaccination Week
Ky. (Dec. 2, 2015)
– State public health officials are encouraging Kentuckians to get a flu
vaccination during National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 6-12, to reduce
the spread of illness this holiday season.
"Getting a flu vaccine is an early holiday gift you can give to yourself
and your family,” said Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, deputy commissioner of the Kentucky
Department for Public Health (DPH). “As the holidays approach, people will be
traveling, and families will gather together, increasing the potential for
exposure to the flu. We are strongly urging anyone who hasn’t received a flu
vaccine, particularly those at high risk for complications related to the flu,
to check with their regular health care provider, local health departments or
other vaccine providers.”
DPH officials report weekly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) as part of statewide flu surveillance efforts. Kentucky’s flu activity is
currently classified as “local,” indicating outbreaks of flu or increases in
Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) cases in a single region of the state.
National Influenza Vaccination Week is a weeklong observance that serves as a
reminder to those people who have not yet received a flu vaccine that the time
to get vaccinated continues into winter – through February or later, when flu
season typically peaks. Because it takes about two weeks for the body to
develop protective antibodies against the flu following vaccination,
Kentuckians who have not had a chance to be vaccinated should seek out the opportunity
now. Vaccine supplies are considered plentiful at this time, but people are
urged to call their providers or pharmacies to check on availability.
Throughout the week, the CDC and DPH will highlight the importance of
vaccinations for those people at high risk, their close contacts and all those
who want to be protected against the flu. In addition, good health habits such
as washing hands often with soap and warm water, avoiding touching your eyes,
nose or mouth, and staying at home from work or school when sick will also be
The best way to protect against the flu is to receive a flu vaccination. The
CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends flu vaccine for all
individuals 6 months of age and older. People who are strongly encouraged to
receive the flu vaccine because they may be at higher risk for complications or
negative consequences include:
Children ages 6 months through 4 years;
• Pregnant women;
• People 50 years of age or older;
• People age 6 months and older with chronic health problems;
• People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;
Health care workers, household contacts and caregivers or people who live with
a person at high risk
for complications from the flu; and
• Out-of-home caregivers of children younger than 6 months old.
should receive a new flu vaccination each season for optimal protection.
Healthy, non-pregnant people ages 2 through 49 can be vaccinated with either
the flu shot or the nasal spray vaccine. Children ages 6 months through 8 years
who have never received a previous seasonal flu vaccination or have only
received one flu vaccination in the past should receive a second dose four or
more weeks after their first vaccination. Health professionals can help
determine if a child will need two vaccinations against flu this season, in
order to provide the best protection
high-dose flu vaccine is available as an option for individuals age 65 years
and older. A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is designed to create a
stronger immune response and provide better protection against the flu.
However, the CDC has not expressed a preference for high-dose vaccine, so
Kentuckians 65 and older are urged to receive the regular dose vaccine if the
high dose vaccine is unavailable.
addition to flu vaccine, DPH strongly encourages all adults 65 years and older
and others in high-risk groups to ask their health care provider about the
pneumococcal vaccines. These vaccines can help prevent a type of pneumonia, one
of the flu’s most serious and potentially deadly complications. The CDC
recommends that adults age 65 years and older receive the pneumococcal
conjugate vaccine (PCV13, Prevnar-13) in addition to the pneumococcal
polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23, Pneumovax-23) spaced at least one year apart.
Getting both vaccines offers the best protection against pneumococcal
disease. Between 3,000 and 49,000 influenza-associated deaths occur nationally
each year, with 80 to 90 percent of those deaths occurring in people age 65
years and older.
with compromised immunity, those with sickle cell disease, without a spleen,
with cochlear implants or cerebrospinal fluid leaks should also receive a
series of the two pneumococcal vaccines. People ages 19 through 64 who
smoke cigarettes or have asthma should also get the pneumococcal vaccine.
People with chronic heart disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes and chronic
liver disease should also ask their medical providers about pneumococcal
vaccine. For children, routine vaccination for pneumococcal disease is
recommended beginning at 2 months of age.
can be very contagious. Infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache,
cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches. Persons who develop
flu symptoms should seek medical advice about the need for a medical evaluation
or treatment with an antiviral drug, which could shorten the course of the
illness or reduce its severity. For more information on influenza or the
availability of flu vaccine, please contact your local health department or