It's National Influenza Vaccination Week -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

It's National Influenza Vaccination Week

By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Its intent is to foster greater use of flu vaccine after the holiday season. Sunday kicked off National Influenza Vaccination Week.

The hope is to prevent another major outbreak like the one last year; the 2009 H1N1 Virus is still causing sickness and even death.

"We don't know what's going to happen over the next several weeks and months," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC's National Center for Immunization.

This week presents a window of opportunity for Americans to prevent a possible third wave of H1N1.

Getting vaccinated is your best protection against the virus.

"In many countries in the northern hemisphere indeed they have passed the peak of their second wave, for example in USA, in Canada," said Dr. Margaret Chan, World Health Organization, Director.

While the majority of people in America with N1N1 activity have recovered without incident the threat is still severe in other parts of the world.

"The situation in New Delhi, the situation in Egypt, as you pointed out, they are still intense influenza activities," said Chan.

Medical professionals say the next six days presents an important opportunity to promote getting the H1N1 flu vaccination at the time when demand for vaccine usually drops significantly.

 "I think that it is too premature and too early for us to say, we have come to an end of the pandemic influenza worldwide," said Chan.

 "In 1957, they essentially gave all clear in that December/January time period, they had vaccine and didn't encourage its use, and yet they did go on to see that increase in mortality," said Schuchat.

The likelihood of a future wave of H1N1 is unknown, medical experts say the more people who get vaccinated the less likely it'll spread in the coming months.

In addition to your local health department, some stores are administering the shots. Walmart announced last week they'll set up H1N1 vaccination clinics in select stores in Georgia.

Click here to link to the times and locations for the H1N1 vaccination clinics at Walmart, or copy and paste the link into your browser.

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