Flu season has been in full swing since August, but it’s never too late to guard yourself against infection.  Dec. 4 is the first day of National Influenza Vaccination Week, and the Georgia Department of Public Health would like to emphasize the continued importance of flu vaccination for all Georgians.

“People of every race, class and environment are equally susceptible to flu infection,” said Steven Mitchell, immunization director for the Georgia Department of Public Health.  “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months and older receive a flu shot, and failure to get vaccinated accounts for countless needless infections each year.” 

According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, communication lapses between patients and doctors are partly to blame.  A recent survey by the CDC concluded that one in five adults believes vaccines are optional for healthy adults. 

Operating under this impression, a significant portion of the population will fail to arm itself against the flu this coming season, putting everyone at higher risk for continued infection and transmission of the disease.  CDC survey results show only 40.5 percent of Georgians were vaccinated in 2010-2011.  In this category, Georgia ranks 41 out of the 50 states.

An influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent flu and potentially serious complications.  National Influenza Vaccination Week emphasizes the importance of flu vaccinations and presents an ideal time to improve Georgia’s rankings.  Flu season starts as early as August but can extend as late as May.  The CDC recommends that everyone get to a doctor’s office, pharmacy or health department and invest in good health through vaccination this winter.

The Georgia Department of Public Health encourages all Georgians to protect their friends, family and themselves from vaccine-preventable diseases by getting vaccinated.  For more information on immunization, visit http://health.state.ga.us/programs/immunization.