Influenza outbreak--Have you gotten your flu shot yet?

January 14, 2013

Boston Mayor Tom Menino declared this year's influenza outbreak a public health emergency in Boston. A total of 45 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported since the since the start of the 2012-2013 season, including 1 from Massachusetts.

Have you gotten your flu shot yet?

Getting vaccinated is the surest way to protect yourself from influenza and prevent the spread of the virus to others. Vaccination is especially important for those at high risk of serious flu-related complications, including children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.

JSI is working with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on an initiative to increase adult vaccination rate (including influenza rates) through expanded access to vaccination services. This project is partnering with pharmacies, community health centers, and employers to improve capacity to offer adult vaccines. It also works with private health insurers and the state Medicaid office to create mechanisms for reimbursement for vaccination at non-traditional sites such as local health departments.

It is not too late to get you a flu shot! Find out where to get flu vaccine by contacting your health care provider, local health department, or local pharmacy.

If you are an employer reading this article, consider offering worksite flu vaccination at no- or low-cost to your employees to minimize workplace absenteeism and associated costs. Visiting Nurses Associations, pharmacies, and community vaccinators are available to provide flu vaccinations on-site. JSI compiled a list of these community vaccinators; please contact Allison Hackbarth, Adult Immunization Project Manager, at ahackbarth@jsi.com if you would like a copy of the list. You can also visit Seasonal Flu Information for Businesses & Employees for more information.

For more information about influenza and how to get vaccinated, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu.