Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Parents PACK

November 2016

Feature Article

Flu vaccines can save the life of someone you love

Guest article by Serese Marotta, Chief Operating Officer, Families Fighting Flu

It’s that time of year again — influenza (flu) season is just around the corner and, as during other years, we don’t have any idea how severe it will be. Unlike the common cold, influenza is a serious and highly contagious disease that tends to develop quickly, especially in children, and can lead to hospitalization or death.

Every year in the U.S., approximately 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized, and on average, 100 children die from infection with influenza or its complications. How do I know this? Because my healthy, 5-year-old son, Joseph, lost his life to H1N1 flu in October 2009. I have always been pro-vaccination and Joseph and his sister got their annual flu vaccinations in September 2009, but H1N1 wasn’t in the vaccine that year. Sadly, the H1N1 vaccine didn’t become available in our community until two weeks after Joseph’s death.

Just the Vax Trivia Corner

Which disease was the focus of research during WWII because of the number of soldiers it killed during WWI?
  1. Polio
  2. Influenza
  3. Measles
  4. Chickenpox
See the Answer

Play Just the Vax, the Vaccine Education Center's trivia game, where you can find this question and others like it.
Play Just the Vax


National Influenza Vaccination Week

Each December, National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is observed during the first week of the month to remind people that it is not too late to get an influenza vaccination. While it is best to get immunized before influenza arrives in your community, the influenza vaccine can provide protection against the disease any time before exposure. However, it is important to realize that it takes about two weeks to develop immunity after being vaccinated, so if you are exposed during that time, you may still develop the disease.

Around the World

Influenza, an Unpredictable Threat

The World Health Organization performs year-round global influenza surveillance to monitor influenza activity around the world. The organization recently released a 14-minute video about the threat of influenza and how the public health community helps protect everyone. Watch the video, Influenza, an Unpredictable Threat, to learn more about influenza.

Did You Know?

Influenza by the numbers

Seasonal epidemics of influenza occur annually in the United States. Each year in the U.S. influenza causes:
  • Thousands to tens of thousands of deaths
  • About 200,000 hospitalizations
  • 111 million workdays lost
  • $7 billion in sick days and lost workplace productivity
The vaccine protects about 70 of every 100 people who receive it from getting really sick, preventing many hospitalizations and deaths.

Ask the VEC

I heard that I should not get the nasal spray influenza vaccine this year. Why is that?

Multimedia Corner

Vaccines on the Go: What You Should Know mobile app

The free mobile app provided by the Vaccine Education Center (VEC) offers scientifically accurate information on vaccines and the diseases they prevent, including influenza. The app also contains vaccine safety information and links to a variety of VEC videos and PDFs.

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