Each year in the US, tens of thousands needlessly suffer, are hospitalized, and even die as a result of vaccine-preventable diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza (flu) vaccination prevented 7.2 million influenza-associated illnesses and 90,000 hospitalizations last season. And while flu is unpredictable and every season is different, vaccination is the best way to prevent it.
Not only can these diseases make you very sick, they can also be spread to others. Some of the people you may come in contact with while celebrating the holiday season are especially vulnerable, including infants, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems (e.g., those undergoing cancer treatments). When you get vaccinated to protect your own health, you are also helping to protect your loved ones.
There are a lot of bad gifts you can give this holiday season – fruitcake, socks, and tacky ties among them – but the worst ‘gift’ would be an infection like flu or pneumococcal disease. Instead, give the gift of health by making sure you’re up-to-date on vaccinations to protect yourself and those around you. For more information about which vaccines you need, visit www.adultvaccination.org/vaccines.
You can also help by spreading the word (about the importance of vaccination) throughout the season, using the NFID Gift of Health holiday visuals. Don’t forget to tag your friends and family to remind them to get vaccinated so that all they are spreading is holiday cheer!