'Ban the Bug' campaign urges Minnesotans to get flu vaccine
Now is a good time to get vaccinated for influenza, whether for 2009 novel H1N1 or seasonal influenza, say state health officials. In an effort to promote flu vaccination, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Minnesota Coalition for Adul...
Now is a good time to get vaccinated for influenza, whether for 2009 novel H1N1 or seasonal influenza, say state health officials.
In an effort to promote flu vaccination, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Minnesota Coalition for Adult Immunization (MCAI) and other organizations are sponsoring the annual Ban the Bug campaign beginning the week of Jan. 10-16 by providing opportunities for Minnesotans to get their influenza vaccinations.
In many communities around the state, local public health agencies, nonprofit groups and health care organizations will sponsor influenza vaccination clinics during the week of Jan. 10 through Jan. 16, as well as the entire month of January. In addition, vaccine is now available at a wide variety of locations, including retail clinics and pharmacies.
"We've done what we can to vaccinate our children and those most vulnerable to H1N1. Now it's time for the rest of us to be vaccinated," said Kristen Ehresmann, director of MDH's infectious disease division.
Ehresmann stressed that it's not too late to get vaccinated. While influenza illnesses have declined in Minnesota, there is still sporadic activity; four states still have widespread flu activity and 13 report regional activity. Influenza may continue for several weeks or months yet, and it's possible that other waves of influenza may occur, caused by H1N1 or regular seasonal flu viruses.
Flu seasons in Minnesota typically peak anytime between January and May, so getting an influenza vaccination now can provide months of protection.
While H1N1 vaccine is open to anyone, it's still especially important for people in the priority groups to get vaccinated, Ehresmann said. In particular, children under 10 who received only one dose should now get their second dose.
Those for whom H1N1 vaccination is strongly recommended include:
- Children and young adults ages 6 months to 24 years, whether or not they have a medical condition. n People ages 25 through 64 with chronic medical conditions that put them at risk for complications from influenza.
- Pregnant women.
- Health care providers and emergency medical services personnel.
- People living with or caring for children under 6 months of age.
Those for whom H1N1 vaccine has only recently become available include people ages 25 to 64 without chronic or underlying medical conditions and people over 65.
For more information, visit www.mdhflu.com .