The first signs that the flu season is upon us have arrived, says the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In some states, for example Georgia, reported cases of flu have suddenly risen so rapidly that state authorities are referring to a “regional outbreak”. It seems that the virus strains identified so far closely match those used in this year’s vaccinations, which is good news for those who had the jab.
The CDC has announced December 5 to 11th as National Influenza Vaccination Week. The aim is to stress the importance of vaccinations and to get as many people as possible immunized.
In a communiqué, the CDC wrote:
During the 2010-2011 flu season, three influenza strains are expected to be present. Health authorities say every person aged 6 months or more should be vaccinated. Having the flu jab does not only protect you, but also those around you.
The three flu strains that will be circulating during the current/coming flu season, according to the CDCs’ Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, are:
- An A/H3N2 strain
- A B strain
- The H1N1 (2009) pandemic strain, which for a while was informally termed “swine flu”
The current vaccine protects against these three strains. The CDC says 160 vaccines have been distributed throughout the USA.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service and CDC’s Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said:
Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H.,Assistant Secretary for Health, said:
The CDC says that the National Influenza Vaccination Week must engage at-risk audiences – people who have not yet been immunized, individuals who are hesitant or unsure whether having the jab is good for them.