Carson City, Nevada - Nevada’s flu vaccination coverage for 2011-2012, estimated at 32.6%, ranked lowest in the nation and was well below the national average of 42%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The Nevada State Division of Health seeks a higher seasonal flu vaccination rate for Nevadans during the current season, 2012-2013.

National Influenza Vaccination Week (NAVW), December 2-8, reminds us to be immunized because flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death.  Even healthy people can get sick from the flu and spread the disease to others.  Flu season typically peaks in January or February and can last as late as May.

“With the season of giving upon us, the timing is perfect to remind folks to get a flu shot,” said Tracey D Green, State Health Officer.  “Around the holidays, folks gather from far and near, and the odds of being exposed to disease increases.   Don’t let the “season of giving” apply to giving or getting germs!”

The CDC and other health experts recommend flu vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older.  Certain people are at greater risk for complications from flu, such as:

·         Adults 65 years of age and older

·         Children younger than 5 years of age, but especially children younger than 2 years

·         People with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and neurologic disorders

·         Pregnant women

“It’s not too late for a flu shot,” said Green.  “Getting a flu shot now allows time for the body to develop full protective immunity before holiday gatherings.”  It generally takes about two weeks after vaccination before maximum protection is in place.

For the 2012-2013 season, the flu vaccine protects against three strains of flu virus: H1N1, H3N2 and a B strain.  Flu vaccine is readily available in Nevada from private providers, health plan clinics, public health clinics, pharmacies, schools for school children, and through public health preparedness exercises.  For more information about National Influenza Vaccination Week, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw.