The best way to protect yourself and your family from getting sick this flu season is to get vaccinated. This is true even if you were vaccinated last season. Health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older receive a flu vaccine every year. That’s because flu can be very serious – every year in Massachusetts, an average of 5,000 residents are hospitalized due to complications from the flu, resulting in up to 800 deaths. The good news is that many of these hospitalizations and deaths are preventable.
Getting a flu vaccine is especially important if you or someone in your family:
- Is pregnant
- Has a chronic health condition like asthma, diabetes, or heart, lung, liver, or kidney disease
- Is immuno-suppressed
- Is very overweight
- Is 50 years of age or older.
Flu vaccination is important for children younger than 5 years of age, who are at higher risk of serious flu complications if they get the flu. For the same reason, if you’re a caregiver or household contact of children less than five years old it’s important that you get vaccinated as well.
The flu vaccine is safe, effective, and widely available. There is more vaccine available this year than ever before!
To find out where to get the flu vaccine:
- Call your health care provider;
- Contact your local health department;
- Check with your local pharmacy; or
- Visit the Massachusetts Flu Clinic website for a list of flu clinics near you.
For more information, please visit www.mass.gov/flu or call the Department of Public Health Immunization Program at (617) 983-6800.