DHHS Recognizes National Influenza Immunization Week
Concord, NH – The annual influenza (flu) season is underway and the New
Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public
Health Services (DPHS) is encouraging any residents who have not yet
received their flu vaccination this year to do so. The flu vaccine is still
the single best protection against the flu. It is also helpful in reducing
the length and severity of illness if someone does get the flu. National
Influenza Immunization Week was established by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) to highlight the importance of continuing flu
vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.
On December 4th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
announced that the strain of flu that is making most people in the United
States sick so far this season is in this year’s vaccine, but it is not a
perfect match. The influenza A (H3N2) strain has changed since the vaccine
was manufactured, which is not uncommon with flu strains. The vaccine does
still offer some protection against the flu and its complications.
“We want to make sure that New Hampshire residents are as well protected as
possible against the flu and the best preventive step is still to get
vaccinated,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DPHS. “It
is also important that if you do think you have the flu, speak with your
healthcare provider as soon as possible and stay home from school and work
to avoid spreading it to others who are at risk.”
It is especially important that those at higher risk for influenza
complications be vaccinated. These groups include:
· Children aged 6 months through 4 years of age
· Pregnant women
· Adults 65 years of age or older
· People who are immunosuppressed
· People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, including
asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or chronic lung disease.
People who live with or care for those at high risk of flu complications
should also be vaccinated including:
· Health care workers
· Household contacts of persons at high risk of complications from the
· Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children younger
than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated).
Additionally, it is also important for patients who have flu symptoms, even
if they have been vaccinated, to seek medical attention. There are
antiviral medications that can be administered to shorten symptoms and help
prevent more serious illness and complications. These medications are more
effective the sooner they are administered after developing symptoms.
Influenza can be a serious disease of the lungs, nose, and throat. The
illness is spread from person to person through contact with respiratory
secretions including through coughing and sneezing. Typical flu symptoms
include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny
or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. An average of 23,000 people die each year
in the United States due to influenza. The vaccine itself does not give you
the flu and is very safe.
There is plenty of flu vaccine available, and vaccines are offered in many
locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, retail stores, pharmacies,
health care centers, as well as some employers and schools. To look for a
flu vaccine near you visit
For more information on influenza and the vaccine, contact the NH
Immunization Program at 1-800-852-3345 x 4482 or 603-271-4482 or the Bureau
of Infectious Disease Control at 1-800-852-3345 x 0279 or 603-271-0279.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at
www.cdc.gov for more information or the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.