Flu Season Begins, Children and Ailing Targeted for Vaccination

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Immunize El Paso ramps up effort to raise influenza immunization rates.

Last flu season, national influenza activity points to increased spread through November and December before peaking in late December – meaning now is the best time to get vaccinated.

This fall, Immunize El Paso is slated to visit over 200 schools, community centers and outreach partners throughout the area with one goal in mind – prevent influenza. The vaccination group is focusing on target populations that are especially susceptible to catching the flu, particularly children, people with medical conditions and everyone over 65 years of age.

“We feel it is extraordinarily important to have a targeted approach to identifying and vaccinating all patients who are high risk for developing flu-related complications,” said Dusty Warden, Outreach Coordinator for Immunize El Paso.

Each year, thousands of people in the United States die from flu, and many more are hospitalized. Flu vaccine is the best protection we have from flu and its complications. Vaccination also helps prevent spreading flu from person to person. Last year, 149 laboratory-confirmed, influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported across 38 states. The state with the greatest numbers of deaths was Texas, with 18 child deaths.

“Last flu season, national influenza activity points to increased spread through November and December before peaking in late December – meaning now is the best time to get vaccinated,” Warden continued.

About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop that protect against influenza virus infection. Vaccines are available in the injectable and the mist form for adults & children. Patients 18 & younger who do not have insurance may also qualify for free vaccination thanks to a grant issued by the Caring for Children Foundation of Texas.

For more information on where to get vaccinated, visit immunizeelpaso.org or call 857-2474.

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