Vermont Department of Health Observes National Influenza Vaccination Week Dec. 5-11 – Urges everyone 6 months and older to get vaccinated!
For Immediate Release: Dec. 10, 2010
Media Contact: Communication Office
BURLINGTON – Influenza can knock a healthy college student down for five to seven days, and University of Vermont Health Services advises anyone who is ill to stay out of circulation, on and off campus, until the fever is gone.
So get vaccinated.
That’s a key message delivered to students each flu season by college health officials. UVM Health Services vaccinated 3,200 people last year, and has given 1,500 flu shots so far this year.
“We were struck last year when we opened a fever and flu clinic here in the Billings Center and 850 students showed up for care,” said UVM Health Service Director Jon Porter, MD. “Last year’s flu season had a big impact on everyone here on campus.”
On Sept. 1, 2009, Dr. Porter predicted that flu could affect as many as 30 to 40 percent of UVM employees and students. Some colleges, such as Washington State University, reported as many as 2,600 suspected cases of H1N1 flu in early September. The first positive case for a UVM student was announced Sept. 30. Flu activity, tracked by the Vermont Department of Health and UVM, peaked on campus in November 2009.
UVM launched a strong outreach campaign to students and parents that intensified throughout the fall, including e-mail reminders and a YouTube video about taking common sense precautions – cover your cough, wash your hands, stay home when you’re sick – and get vaccinated as soon as you can. Health officials, students and parents were not caught off guard.
Dr. Porter said this year’s outreach is about half the effort undertaken last year, but the message is still the same: “We stress the importance of getting immunized every way we can.”
Flu Vaccine Facts:
- The flu vaccine is updated each season to protect against the three flu viruses that research shows will cause the most illness. At this time, the vaccine is well matched to the flu strains now circulating in the U.S.
- Because flu viruses are always changing, last season’s flu vaccine may not protect against new viruses, and getting vaccinated every year is the only way to stay protected each season.
The flu shot cannot give you the flu. Flu vaccine is used to prevent the flu, not treat the flu. Over the past 50 years, flu vaccines have been shown to be safe.
- With flu activity increasing, family and friends gathering for the holidays, and cold weather setting in, now is a great time to get a flu vaccine.