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National Influenza Vaccination Week

FRANKFORT  – Officials with the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) are encouraging Kentuckians to get a flu vaccination during National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 4-10, 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. Christine Weyman. “As the holidays approach, people will be traveling, and families will gather together, increasing the potential for exposure to the flu. We are 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 level is currently classified as “sporadic,” indicating small numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases or a single laboratory-confirmed influenza outbreak has been reported, but there is no increases in cases of ILI.

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 emphasized.

The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends flu vaccine for all individuals six months of age and older. However, the nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used because it has been shown to be ineffective. People who are strongly encouraged to receive the flu vaccine because they may be at higher risk for complications or negative consequences include:

• Children age six months through 59 months;

• Women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season;

• Persons 50 years of age or older;

• Persons with extreme obesity (Body Mass Index of 40 or greater);

• Persons aged six months and older with chronic health problems;

• Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;

• Household contacts (including children) and caregivers of children aged ≤59 months   (i.e., aged <five years, particularly contacts of children   aged <six months) and adults aged ≥50 years;

• Household contacts and caregivers or people who live with a person at high-risk for

complications from the flu; and

• Health care workers, including physicians, nurses, and other workers in inpatient and

outpatient-care settings, medical emergency-response workers (e.g., paramedics and  emergency medical technicians), employees of nursing home and long-term care  facilities who have contact with patients or residents, and students in these professions who will have contact with patients.

You should also follow the advice your parents gave you to prevent flu and other illnesses that tend to circulate at this time of year – wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and stay home when you’re sick.

Adequate supplies of flu vaccine are expected to be available for this year’s season. Vaccination can be given any time during the flu season.

Infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches. Flu can be very contagious.

For more information on influenza or the availability of flu vaccine, please contact your local health department or visit

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state’s human services and healthcare programs, including the Department for Medicaid Services, the Department for Community Based Services, the Department for Public Health, and the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full- and part-time employees located across the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.

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