The week of Jan. 10-16, 2010, is National Influenza Vaccination Week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are reminding health care workers and employers in general that while incidents of the H1N1 flu are waning, the virus is still causing hospitalizations and deaths—and the country still hasn’t seen the first documented cases of seasonal flu, officials say.
The CDC urges everyone to get their flu shots, for seasonal and H1N1, and has a multitude of resources on its web site, www.flu.gov, to help employers spread the word.
Materials include posters, brochures and fact sheets; podcasts, e-cards, buttons and banners for company web sites; resources for health professionals; and articles to put in company newsletters.
H1N1 flu vaccine had been in short supply in 2009, but all 50 states had access to 136 million doses of the vaccine by January 2010, said Rear Admiral Anne Schuchat, M.D., Assistant U.S. Surgeon General and Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC, in a news conference Jan. 7, 2009. Vaccine was available at doctors’ offices, pharmacies and some employers’ on-site health clinics. (See “Employers Urged to Help Workers Get H1N1 Vaccine.”)
In fall 2009, only certain priority groups were allowed to get the vaccination: young children, pregnant women, health care workers and adults with chronic health conditions. Everyone who has not already received a vaccination will be urged to get one, with particular emphasis on older adults who might have been waiting for other priority groups to receive the vaccine. State health departments and Flu.gov have vaccination finders to help people locate a vaccine provider nearby.
Flu season typically lasts until late April or early May, Schuchat said, emphasizing that it isn’t too late to get the H1N1 vaccination. Officials estimate that 60 million people have received the vaccine.
Beth Mirza is senior editor for HR News. She can be reached at Beth.Mirza@shrm.org.