Protect Yourself, Protect Your Family. Get Your Flu Vaccine Today!

December 5th, 2012

In support of efforts for National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), we welcome guest blogger Laura Scott, Executive Director of Families Fighting Flu (FFF) on how flu personally impacts families.

by Laura Scott
Executive Director, Families Fighting Flu, Inc.

It’s that time of year again. Time for you and your family to get vaccinated against the flu! Although last year’s flu season was considered mild, it is important to remember that flu (or influenza) is a highly-contagious and serious disease every year, particularly for pregnant women and young children. In fact, each year in the United States approximately 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized due to flu, and, sadly, each year too many children die from this disease. Getting an annual flu vaccine is the single best preventive measure to help protect you and your family!

Members of our organization, Families Fighting Flu (FFF), a national nonprofit, include families whose children have suffered serious medical complications or died from flu. We share our stories to raise awareness about this potentially devastating disease in the hopes that others won’t have to endure similar hardships.

Stories from member families like the Moises from Missouri, who suffered the tragic loss of their 6-month-old son, Ian , just 30 hours after he showed his first symptom of being sick; families like the Palmers from Florida whose 15-month-old daughter, Breanne, died in her mother’s arms shortly after being diagnosed with influenza; or members like the Lastingers from Texas whose 3-year-old daughter, Emily, was found lifeless lying on her parent’s bed, where she had been watching cartoons as her parents got ready to take her to the doctor. None of these children were vaccinated against the flu.

These stories and others like them help us better understand that even healthy children can suffer from the devastating effects of the flu. This is why it’s so important to protect your family from the flu by getting yourself and your family members vaccinated every year. It’s not too late! In fact, National Influenza Vaccination Week, which we’re observing this week, was established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination, as well as fostering greater use of flu vaccine after the holiday season into January and beyond.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu every year. Some children six months through eight years of age require two doses of influenza vaccine. Children in this age group who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of vaccine, spaced at least 28 days apart. Some children who have received influenza vaccine previously may still need two doses. Talk to your health care provider about the flu vaccine today!

Visit for resources about flu prevention, including a flu clinic locator, a toolkit to educate people about the importance of flu prevention, a detailed list of common flu myths, and archived webinar recordings with leading physicians and FFF members who shared the latest information about flu prevention and their personal stories.

On behalf of the members of FFF, we urge you to make the pledge for you and your family to get vaccinated against the flu this and every year. It truly can be a life-saving decision!

For more information about influenza or the flu vaccine, talk to your health professional, visit or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO.