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News release from the Virginia Department of Health
In advance of National Influenza Vaccination Week December 5-9, the Pittsylvania/Danville and Southside health districts reminds everyone six months and older to get their annual influenza (flu) vaccine.
With flu activity elevated nationally, Virginia is currently seeing very high levels of the influenza virus. In fact, Virginia has already had 11,582 influenza-related infections and has investigated 97 flu outbreaks this season.
“We are seeing significantly more flu activity this year,” Pittsylvania/Danville and Southside health districts Director Scott J. Spillmann, MD, MPH said. “It’s important to get your flu vaccine as soon as possible to keep you and your family healthy.”
Flu season, the period of highest influenza activity, normally begins in early October and ends in late May. During most seasons, cases often peak in January or February; however, Virginia is seeing significant outbreaks now.
A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and updated to keep up with changing flu viruses.
You should get the influenza vaccine as soon as it becomes available. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late to get your flu vaccine.
Influenza, commonly called “the flu,” is a serious disease caused by the influenza virus that affects the respiratory tract. It is highly contagious and generally spreads from person-to-person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can be transmitted even before flu-like symptoms appear. A person usually becomes sick one to three days following exposure to the virus. Typical flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.
For the 2021-22 flu season, Virginia spent 12 weeks at widespread. During that season, Virginia reported 5,071 infections, 24 outbreaks, one influenza-associated pediatric death and 3,895 pneumonia, influenza and/or COVID-19 associated deaths.
To minimize your risk of contracting or transmitting the flu, follow these simple steps:
Visit www.vaccines.gov/find-vaccines/ to find a location near you to get the flu vaccine. It is safe to get both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.