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It is not too late for Texans to get vaccinated and protect themselves during peak flu season

AUSTIN — By December, many Texans may mistakenly feel that it is too late to get vaccinated against the flu.  But December through February is the peak season for the flu in Texas and by getting immunized during December, the vaccine will offer several more months of protection.  As part of National Influenza Vaccination week from December 8th – 14th, a wide array of Texas pharmacists, health care organizations and legislators are making a push to educate people on the importance of receiving the flu vaccination.  This outreach will highlight cultural aspects unique to Texas, and be geared towards all Texas residents and workers.

“We are working to remind Texans of the importance of getting a flu shot, letting them know it’s not too late for them to visit a health provider for their vaccination,” said State Representative Richard Peña Raymond, Chairman of The House Committee on Human Services.  “Reminding Texans of the importance of flu vaccinations and encouraging them to get a flu shot during this week will increase our state’s low seasonal flu vaccination rate, improve people’s health and save money.”

Getting vaccinated is the best way for people to protect themselves—and others—from contracting this serious, contagious illness.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all Americans age six months and older receive a flu vaccination every year.  While vaccination offers the best protection against the flu, only about 4 in 10 Texans (41%) age six months and older received the flu vaccine during the 2011 – 2012 flu season, according to the Trust for America’s Health. Texans deserves better and this year it is easier than ever to get vaccinated.

Vaccine access has expanded in recent years through legislation allowing pharmacists to give the flu vaccine to adults and children age seven and older, and through the proliferation of immunization clinics in private practice and community settings. Most pharmacies and local health departments have a supply of the vaccine on hand. In addition, many organizations, including churches and community centers, offer walk-in immunization clinics at specific dates and times.

“It’s easier now than ever to get your flu vaccine, many pharmacies are open extended hours every day so you can visit when it’s convenient for you and you never need an appointment,” said Rep. Raymond.

According to the Trust for America’s Health, an estimated:

  • One in five Americans will get the flu this year;
  • Anywhere from 3,000 – 49,000 individuals will die from a flu-related illness and more than 200,000 people will be hospitalized;
  • The flu costs more than $10 billion in direct medical expenses and $16 billion in lost earnings.

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