National Influenza Vaccination Week

December 2–8 is National Influenza Vaccination Week. This week focuses on highlighting the importance of influenza vaccination. A few quick facts include:

  • Everyone aged 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine every season.
  • Flu vaccine prevents illnesses, doctor’s visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
  • The flu vaccine was 40% effective at helping people avoid illness due to influenza last season, despite early concerns about effectiveness.
  • More vaccination benefits are seen within certain groups including:
    • Vaccination reduces flu-associated death by 65% among healthy kids and 51% among children with underlying medical conditions.
    • Vaccination reduces risk of flu hospitalization among pregnant women by 40%.
    • Vaccination reduces risk of hospital admission by 37% among adults aged 18 years and older, and risk of admission to the ICU by 82%.
    • Among adults admitted to the hospital with flu, vaccination reduces risk of admission to the ICU by 59% and decreases the ICU length of stay by 4 days.
  • SD-DOH has reported 36 lab-confirmed influenza A and B infections, 8 hospitalizations, and 1 death for the season. Monitor the flu bug at:
  • South Dakotans received fewer flu vaccinations last season (2017–2018) compared to the previous year.
    • Older adults (65 years and older): 12.5% decrease in flu vaccination to 47.7%
    • Adults (aged 18–64 years): 7.8% decrease in flu vaccination to 37.7%
    • Children (aged 6 months–17 years): 1.2% increase in flu vaccination to 64.4%

Steps to avoid becoming ill with influenza:

  1. Visit your local clinician, pharmacy, or community flu vaccination event to receive your influenza vaccination.
  2. Prevent the spread of germs by washing your hands with soap and water (or alcohol-based hand gel), not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, and covering your cough or sneeze (into your elbow).
  3. If you become ill, stay home while sick and take antiviral drugs if prescribed by your doctor.