Michigan Influenza Vaccination Season Begins
The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is gearing up for the 2008-2009 influenza season by making special efforts to reach out to high-risk patients as well as children in need of a second dose of influenza vaccine. Vaccine manufacturers expect shipments to be made on-time this year and MDCH is urging providers, local health departments, and community vaccinators to begin vaccinating patients. A record number of doses - 143 million - are expected to be available in the United States for the flu season. That is three million more doses available than last year.
"As flu season approaches, we encourage all Michigan residents to get vaccinated," said Greg Holzman, chief medical executive for MDCH. "The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated. If you are a new parent, a health care professional, or have contact with people age 65 and older, protect those high-risk individuals by getting vaccinated."
Expanded recommendations about who should receive the flu vaccine are new this year. Now, more than 4 out of 5 people are recommended to get an annual flu vaccine. Part of this increase is due to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) February vote to increase the recommended ages for annual flu vaccination to include all children 6 months through 18 years of age.
Studies have found that many healthy children get influenza. Some of those children may miss a week of school, but quite a few children will become seriously ill and have to go to the hospital. By reducing influenza among children, this may reduce flu among their families and surrounding communities as well.