December 14, 2017

Get Yourself and Your Family Vaccinated!

To kick-off the 2017 National Influenza Vaccination Week, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (@NFIDvaccines), in partnership with Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, chief of digital innovation at Seattle Children’s Hospital (@SeattleMamaDoc), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (@CDCflu) hosted a live #FightFluChat on Twitter to discuss influenza (flu) prevention and vaccines.

Reaching more than 3 million accounts, with nearly 20 million impressions, the tweet chat provided important information about the 2017-2018 flu season. The discussion covered topics such as the impact of flu, flu prevention strategies including the importance of annual vaccination, as well as influenza vaccines specifically designed to increase immunity in older adults age 65 years and older. Messaging reinforced the CDC recommendation for everyone age six months and older to get vaccinated annually.

Highlights from the #FightFluChat included the following:

Each year seasonal #flu spreads across the US. How many people get sick? What are common complications of flu? Who is most at risk?

@Shoffm: In the US, #flu can infect between 9-35 million people annually. The single best way to protect your child from #flu is to get them vaccinated each year #KFOS #fightfluchat

@CDCFlu: An estimated 71,000 flu hospitalizations were prevented by vaccination during the 2015-2016 season! #FightFluChat

When should I get a flu vaccine? Is it too late if you haven’t already been vaccinated this season? 

@CDCFlu: It’s not too late, but now is the time to get your family vaccinated! #FightFluChat

@famfightflu: Our members have been busy getting their annual #flu shots, but it’s not too late to join them! #FightFluChat

@SIDPharm: It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week. It’s not too late to get your #flu vaccine. Many pharmacists are ready & waiting to help you get vaccinated! Ask your pharmacist today. #FightFluChat #NIVW #FluFighter

What are side effects of flu vaccine? Can the vaccine give you the flu?

@MedExpress: The vaccine cannot give you the flu. It is either made with inactive flu viruses or no virus at all. #FightFluChat

In addition to an annual #flu vaccine, how can we prevent the spread of flu in schools and workplaces?

@UnityConsortium: In addition to #fluvax, ways 2 stop spread of flu: •Wash hands w/ soap & water •Cough into sleeve •Avoid touching eyes, nose, mouth •Avoid close contact w/sick people •Avoid sharing cups, eating utensils •STAY HOME WHEN SICK #FightFluChat

@HHS_HealthReg2: The single best way to prevent seasonal #flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. #FightFluChat #NIVW2017

Why is #flu vaccine not as effective as other vaccines? What level of protection can we expect this season?

@SeattleMamaDoc: Vaccine effectiveness for flu vaccine varies from year to year. On average, the vaccine is about 50-60% effective. That means if 100 people got the shot about 50-60 people would be protected from getting the infection when exposed to influenza. #FightFluChat

Let’s talk about older adults. What is there to know about flu vaccines designed specifically for adults age 65years and older?

@MillionHeartsUS: If you have heart disease or have had a stroke, you need to take steps to fight the flu. #GetAFluVax #FightFluChat

@CDCFlu: Human immune defenses become weaker with age, placing some aged 65+ at greater risk of #flu related complications. #FightFluChat

How can you tell the difference between a bad cold and the flu?

@famfightflu: It’s so important to know the difference between a cold & flu because #flu is dangerous & can even be deadly. It comes on quick & it’s best to seek treatment from a healthcare provider who may be able to prescribe antivirals. #FightFluChat #KFOS

The chat concluded with participants sharing valuable resources about flu…
Let’s share resources. Where can I learn more about the #flu, vaccines, prevention, and treatment?

@CDCFlu: Stay up-to-date on the 2017-2018 #flu season! Visit #FightFluChat

@SeattleMamaDoc: A few of my blog posts on preventing flu:

@Aging_Research: Learn about vaccines 60 seconds in this video: #FightFluChat. Additional resources can be found at:

Thanks to all who participated, shared resources, and asked and answered important questions. Together, we can all #FightFlu! For additional information about preventing flu, visit

Join the NFID Leading By Example initiative, calling on leaders in healthcare, business, education, and politics to “lead by example” by making a commitment to influenza prevention. Be sure to post your flu vaccine selfie on Twitter with the hashtag #FightFlu. And if you have not yet received a flu vaccine this season, visit to use the Flu Vaccine Finder to help find a convenient location near you.

To join the conversation, follow NFID on Twitter using the hashtag #FightFlu, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, join the NFID Linkedin Group, and subscribe to NFID Updates.