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The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) and the Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition (CIIC) emphasize the need for strong recommendations from all healthcare professionals as a key step to increase annual influenza (flu) vaccination rates.
In support of 2014 National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 7 to December 13), the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) and the Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition (CIIC) call on all healthcare professionals to strengthen efforts to educate parents about the importance of annual flu vaccination for children age 6 months and older.
Each year in the U.S., approximately 20,000 children under 5 years of age are hospitalized from flu-related complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there were reports of more than 400 flu-related deaths in children over the last four years. Forty-seven percent of last season’s reported 109 pediatric deaths occurred in children with no prior health problems.
“In general, the overwhelming majority of the children who die from influenza are not vaccinated and nearly half have no prior health problems,” said Carol J. Baker, MD, CIIC Chair and Professor of Pediatrics, Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine. “Parents need to be reminded every year about influenza vaccination, and research tells us that healthcare professionals have the greatest influence over parents’ vaccination decisions. With flu season upon us, now is the time for healthcare professionals to make their voices loud and clear to parents.”
While influenza vaccination rates among children have increased over the past five years, Dr. Baker stresses that more work is needed to ensure all children are protected against influenza each and every year. Some children 6 months through 8 years of age may need two doses of flu vaccine to be fully protected.
Help #FightFlu – Give the Gift of Health
In an effort to heighten awareness around the upcoming holiday season, NFID launched a social media campaign including a series of shareable visuals around flu and pneumococcal disease prevention. While humorous, these visuals convey a serious message. Each year in the U.S., tens of thousands needlessly suffer, are hospitalized, and even die as a result of vaccine-preventable diseases. The worst gift you can give for the holidays is one of these infections, such as influenza or pneumococcal disease. Getting vaccinated can help you protect your own health and the health of your loved ones. For more information, visit nfid.org/gift-of-health.
About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1973 dedicated to educating the public and healthcare professionals about the causes, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases across the lifespan. Created by NFID in 2007, the Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition (CIIC) is a coalition of more than 30 leading medical, public health, and parent organizations brought together by NFID to help address and improve influenza immunization rates among children. For more information, visit preventchildhoodinfluenza.org.