PHILADELPHIA, – Joseph W. Stubbs, MD, FACP, president of the American College of Physicians (ACP) and a practicing internist, knows all too well that the number of people who get vaccinated against the flu typically drops after November. But flu viruses can circulate into February – even into the spring and summer.
“National Influenza Vaccination Week (January 10-16) provides an important opportunity for physicians to remind people how important it is to get their H1N1 and seasonal flu shots,” said Dr. Stubbs. “While infections have declined in recent weeks, getting vaccinated now if you haven’t already can help stop a potential third wave of H1N1 flu and prevent serious illness or death.”
More than 125 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine are now available. The current seasonal flu vaccine does not protect against H1N1 flu.
Between April and November 2009, the H1N1 virus infected more than 45 million Americans, resulting in more than 200,000 hospitalizations and nearly 10,000 deaths.
Pregnant women, health care and emergency medical service providers, children, young adults under the age of 25, and adults between the ages of 25 to 64 with an underlying chronic medical condition are at higher risk for serious H1N1 flu complications. It also is important for people who live with or provide care for infants less than 6 months old to be vaccinated.
“Physicians should immunize themselves, their staff members, and their patients with the H1N1 and the seasonal flu vaccines,” said Dr. Stubbs. “They are safe, effective, and the best way to protect you and your loved ones against H1N1 flu.”
Complications of H1N1 flu can include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
Vaccination Resources from the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 129,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.