(BUFFALO, NY, Dec. 5, 2016) – December 4 -10 is National Influential Vaccination Week 2016 and the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) wants to let the public know that it’s not too late to vaccinate. At this time of the year, many people think it is too late to get a flu vaccination, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that flu vaccination efforts continue throughout the flu season.
“Flu season often peaks between December and March, but activity can occur as late as May,” says Dr. Raul Vazquez, Chief Executive Officer of GBUAHN. “At GBUAHN, we are encouraging people who have not yet been vaccinated this season to get vaccinated now.” It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies that fight the flu virus to develop in the body, so it’s best to get a flu shot early.
For millions of people each season, the flu means a fever, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches and fatigue. Millions of people across the U.S. get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people actually die from the flu each year.
The CDC recommends a yearly flu shot for everyone six months of age or older as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu viruses. This season, CDC recommends the use of injectable flu vaccines. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) is not recommended for use this season because of concerns about effectiveness.
Some people are at high risk for serious flu-related complications that can lead to hospitalization and even death. People at high risk include pregnant women, children younger than five, but especially children younger than two years old, people 65 years of age and older, and people who have certain medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. For those at high risk of serious flu complications, getting a flu vaccine is especially important.
“Getting the flu vaccine is simple, and it’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu,” says Dr. Vazquez. “Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years, and there has been extensive research supporting the safety of seasonal flu vaccines.”
Founded in 2013, the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) has over 6,000 members and is the largest Medicaid health home in WNY. Medicaid health homes were established under Section 2703 of the Affordable Care Act as a team-based clinical approach offering coordinated care services to individuals with multiple chronic health conditions, including mental health and substance abuse disorders. This free service integrates all primary care, acute, behavioral health and long-term services and supports to treat the whole person. Care teams work closely with patients to get them all the services they need in the community (i.e. food, housing, and clothing). For more information about GBUAHN, visit www.gbuahn.org