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National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Supports 2011 National Influenza Vaccination Week
Date:12/5/2011

BETHESDA, Md., Dec. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in highlighting the importance of influenza prevention during National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 4 to December 10, and encouraging vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.

Influenza vaccination rates among children have steadily increased over the past few years, but many parents remain unaware that annual vaccination is recommended. According to NFID research, less than half of parents (47 percent) know that an annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all Americans age 6 months and older. The research also shows that less than one-quarter (24 percent) of parents know that children under 9 years of age may require more than one dose of influenza vaccine to be fully protected.

"Influenza is an infectious disease that can be very serious and, while anyone can get the flu, children tend to have the highest rates of infection," said Carol J. Baker, MD, past president of NFID and Professor of Pediatrics, Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine.

"The most effective way to protect your children against influenza is vaccination. Children who need a second dose but don't get it are placed needlessly at risk."

Influenza season doesn't usually peak until January or later, so children who have not yet been vaccinated this season should do so now. Each year, influenza leads to approximately 20,000 hospitalizations in children younger than 5 years of age and nearly 100 deaths in children of all ages in the US; during the 2010-2011 season, 120 children died from influenza-related complications.

Dr. Baker is chair of the Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition (CIIC), a group of more than 30 leading medical, public health, and parent organizations brought togethe
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SOURCE National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID)
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