National Influenza Vaccination Week – December 7-13
National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is December 7-13. This national health observance was established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. Historically, seasonal flu vaccination drops significantly after the end of November. Influenza activity usually peaks between December and February and can last as late as May. As long as influenza viruses are circulating and causing illness, vaccination can provide protection against the flu and should continue to be encouraged. While patients are engaged in holiday mode, they may need to be reminded that if they haven’t gotten their seasonal flu shot that now is a great time for almost everyone (6 months and older) to get a flu vaccine to protect themselves and their loved ones from flu.
Another goal of NIVW is to communicate the importance of flu vaccination for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications like pneumonia, or worsening of existing health conditions that can lead to hospitalization or death. Young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease, and people age 65 years and older, are all considered high risk. Refer to CDC’s “People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications” for more information.
People who are otherwise healthy can also get the flu and suffer from flu-related complications, like pneumonia. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first step to protect against this serious disease. We ask that you continue flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. And remember, seasonal flu vaccination is also important for health care providers, as well as your staff and patients. As trusted health care professionals, research shows that your recommendation for yearly flu vaccination and taking action to get yourself vaccinated is vital.
Generally, Medicare Part B covers one influenza vaccination and its administration per influenza season for Medicare beneficiaries without co-pay or deductible. Note: The influenza vaccine is not a Part D-covered drug.
For more information on coverage and billing of the influenza vaccine and its administration, visit:
- MLN Matters® Article #MM8890 (PDF), “Influenza Vaccine Payment Allowances - Annual Update for 2014-2015 Season.”
- MLN Matters® Article #SE1431 (PDF), “2014-2015 Influenza (Flu) Resources for Health Care Professionals.”
- CDC Influenza (Flu) web page for the latest information on flu including the CDC 2014-2015 recommendations for the prevention and control of influenza and the NIVW website.
- While some providers may offer flu vaccines, those that don’t can help their patients locate flu vaccines within their local community. The HealthMap Vaccine Finder is a free online service where users can search for locations offering flu and other adult vaccines. If you provide vaccination services and would like to be included in the HealthMap Vaccine Finder database, register for an account to submit your information in the database.