WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that seasonal flu activity is increasing week over week, with cases reported in nearly all states. As National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 1-7) begins, CVS Health reminds customers that it is not too late to get a flu shot to protect themselves and their family members from the flu.
“Flu levels typically peak between December and February, but trends this year seem to be hinting at an early start to the flu season,” said Kevin Hourican, president, CVS Pharmacy. “As the flu shot takes a couple of weeks to become fully effective, now is a good time to get vaccinated so that you have a better chance of remaining healthy throughout the holiday season, when families and friends gather and the flu typically begins to spread.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established National Influenza Immunization Week (NIVW) in 2005 to highlight the importance of continued vaccination through the busy holiday season and into the New Year when flu activity is typically at its peak. The flu vaccine is considered a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act and is fully covered and available at no cost through most insurance plans. With approximately 9,900 CVS Pharmacy locations and 1,100 walk-in MinuteClinic locations accepting most insurance plans, CVS Health has made vaccinations quick, easy and accessible for patients.
Getting a flu shot protects both the individual and those around them who may be more vulnerable to serious complications from the flu, such as infants and young children, older adults, and people with certain chronic health conditions. Seasonal flu outbreaks can begin as early as October and can last as late as May, which means it is not too late, or too early, to get vaccinated.
“As the most effective way to prevent people from contracting the flu, a flu shot should be a priority at this time of year,” added Angela Patterson, chief nurse practitioner officer, MinuteClinic. “But we also want to remind people that if they do end up getting sick and think they have the flu, they should see a health care provider as soon as symptoms develop to be able to take advantage of available prescription and over-the-counter medications that can help them feel better or reduce the duration of their illness.”