National Influenza Vaccination Week

Updated 12/18

National​ Influenza Vaccination Week

This year, National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is December 2-8, 2018. The NIVW provides an opportunity for public health professionals, health care professionals, health advocates, communities, and families from across the country to work together to promote flu vaccination before the traditional winter peak in flu activity. Flu seasons are unpredictable and can begin early in the fall and last late into the spring. By focusing on one week in early December, partners can bring together resources and reach people before flu season swings into full gear.

The Many Benefits of Flu Vaccination

The CDC provides a list of benefits to receiving the flu vaccine. They include:

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.

  • During the 2016-2017 flu season, flu vaccine prevented an estimated:
    • 5.3 million flu illnesses – about the population of the Atlanta metropolitan area
    • 2.6 million flu medical visits – more than the number of students in all K-12 schools in Florida
    • 85,000 flu hospitalizations – more than the number of hospital beds in California and Oregon

  • Flu vaccination helps prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions.
  • Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy.
    • 2018 study showed that getting a flu shot reduced a pregnant woman's risk of being hospitalized with flu by an average of 40 percent.

  • Flu vaccine can be life-saving in children.
    • 2017 study was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child's risk of dying from flu.

  • Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated, but still get sick.

  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect the people around you, including those who are most vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.


 The Latest on Immunizations


  • The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

  • People of every age, including people in good health, are at risk of flu.

Influenza can cause illness and sometimes severe disease in persons of any age.

  • Flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands or tens of thousands of deaths each year in the United States.

  • Although a majority of hospitalizations and deaths occur in people 65 years and older, even healthy young children and younger adults can have severe disease or even die from influenza.

  • Over 100 pediatric deaths from influenza were reported to CDC last season.

Flu Vaccination

  • An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against this potentially serious disease.

    • Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

    • Flu vaccination also may make your illness milder if you do get sick.

    • Getting vaccinated yourself protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

  • Despite the unpredictable nature of the flu, you should know:

    • You need the 2018-2019 flu vaccine for optimal protection against the flu this season because:

      • Flu viruses are constantly changing, and this season's vaccines have been updated to protect against the viruses that surveillance data indicate will be most common this flu season, and

      • A person's immune protection from vaccine declines over time so annual flu vaccination is needed for the best protection against the flu.

    • It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection.

    • While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity is usually highest between December and February, though activity can last as late as May. As long as flu viruses are circulating, it's not too late to get vaccinated, even in January or later.

    • With flu activity increasing and family and friends planning gatherings for the holidays, now is a great time to get a flu vaccine if you haven't been vaccinated yet this season. A flu vaccine can protect you and your loved ones from the flu.

    • Find a place near you to get a flu vaccine with the HealthMap Vaccine Finder.

Some Children May Need 2 Doses

Some children may need two doses of flu vaccine this season to be fully protected. Children younger than 9 years old who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of vaccine. Some children who have received influenza vaccine previously also will need two doses of vaccine this season to be fully protected. Healthcare providers can tell families if their child needs two doses.