NHC Focus On: Flu Vaccinations


By Theo Smith, Communications Intern

Flu Season

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Typically flu season occurs each fall and winter. The flu, or influenza, can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold, and it is important to know the difference between the two. Some of the symptoms of the flu are: fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides people with key facts and information about flu vaccines.

Who Needs A Flu Vaccine?

The CDC recommends that anyone six months of age and older get vaccinated, particularly people who are at a high risk for flu complications. Individuals who care for or live with these high-risk populations also should get vaccinated.

For people with serious health conditions, a flu vaccination can be lifesaving. There is an increased risk that individuals with chronic health conditions face with the flu infection. People who are at a high risk for flu complications include: people 64 years and older, young children, people with asthma, and people with chronic conditions or illnesses.

United Against the Flu Social Media Campaign

The NHC is participating in a collaborative effort by the American Hospital Association that brings together several health organizations and the CDC, to amplify the importance of getting vaccinated. This campaign, United Against the Flu, was designed to increase vaccinations, especially during flu season. The CDC estimates that from October 1, 2018 to May 4, 2019, there were 531,000-647,000 flu hospitalizations, and more than 27 million were affected by flu-related illnesses. One of the most important steps to avoid serious, flu-related illnesses is to get vaccinated. Learn more about the campaign, here.

NHC and NMQF Webinar on Dec. 6

The NHC and National Minority Quality Forum’s Center for Sustainable Health Care and Equity will present “The Importance of Influenza Vaccination to Patients with Chronic Diseases,” a National Influenza Vaccination Week Educational Webinar, on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. The webinar will be presented by William Schaffner, MD, Professor of Preventive Medicine in the Department of Health Policy and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN. Register here.

Resources & Additional Information 

  • The CDC created a FAQ list about flu season. Read more to have your flu-related questions answered.
  • The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology created an Influenza and pneumococcal immunization toolkit.
  • The CDC created Multi-Language Seasonal Flu Factsheets. The materials were designed to improve knowledge of season flu and provide more access to information to people who don’t speak English.
  • Share graphics on social media to promote flu vaccinations.

Join United Against the Flu on social media, as we send loud messages to protect yourself and your family by getting a flu vaccination.