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 together by NFID to call attention to the importance of influenza vaccination for children, who bear a large disease burden. These organizations individually are committed to protecting children's health and encouraging sustained wellness, and together seek to address and improve influenza immunization rates among children. Current members include:
NFID Urges Professionals to Lead by Example
Keeping communities healthy from influenza requires a commitment to prevention by all. To help make influenza prevention a health priority for all Americans, NFID is calling on community leaders in healthcare, business, education, and government to do their part by getting vaccinated and leading by example.
Dr. Baker notes that physicians and other healthcare professionals should be among the first to show their commitment by vaccinating themselves and their patients. "Research shows that it is important for people to hear a vaccine recommendation from a healthcare professional and other community leaders."
For more information on NFID's Leading by Example initiative, go to: www.nfid.org/influenza/leadingbyexample
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit, tax-exempt (501c3) organization founded in 1973 and dedicated to educating the public and healthcare professionals about the causes, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases. NFID established the Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition (CIIC) in 2007 to help increase awareness and education about pediatric influenza and benefits of immunization. CIIC is made possible through an unrestricted educational grant to NFID from Sanofi Pasteur. NFID's policies prohibit funders from controlling program content. To view NFID's policies for unrestricted educational grants, visit www.nfid.org/pdf/grantspolicy.pdf
Contact Jennifer Bender at 212-886-2233 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange telephone interviews with NFID and/or CIIC representatives. Additional information, including brief videos featuring experts, can be found at www.preventchildhoodinfluenza.org.
|SOURCE National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID)|
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