The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases announced at a Washington, D.C. press conference said that it recommended everyone who was six months or older receive a flu shot.
After the severe flu season of a year ago, including high mortality and morbidity and high rates of hospitalization, the panel stressed that the flu can be very unpredictable and deadly.
The flu causes severe illness, said the panel and as much as possible needs to be prevented. The most important factor of prevention, said the experts, is early vaccination, prior to being exposed to an influenza virus. It is very important for people with asthma, lung problems, diabetes, immune systems that are compromised, pregnant women and those with other types of health conditions, to be vaccinated.
While the recommendation for the shot is not anything new, the strains of viruses this year will be. The myriad of options for a flu shot are bigger this year than ever, with one of the shots protecting against four types of flu strains.
The vaccine is very important now due to the implementation of the nation’s Affordable Care Act, with preventable care being emphasized.
The group also stressed how important it was that women who are pregnant, who might be apprehensive to be vaccinated, especially need the shot to protect both themselves and their unborn child.
The group said that data shows the flu shot to be safe for pregnant women. They feel comfortable giving pregnant women the vaccine at any stage of gestation.
There is good news. Overall, the rates of vaccination in the U.S. have risen. Last year, over 42% of adults received the vaccination; an increase of 3% over the year before and 57% of children received the shot compared to 52% the previous year.