It’s Flu Season, and National Influenza Vaccination Week

December 13, 2016

Flu shots are covered under Medicare as part of the preventive services offered.

As the cold approaches, everyone who has Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) should consider getting the seasonal flu shots.  You pay nothing for a flu shot if the doctor or other qualified health care provider accepts assignment for giving the shot.

Why is it important to get a flu shot every season?

Flu viruses change every year, so it is important to get a flu shot each flu season.  Medicare covers the shot for free once every season. The CDC also recommends that as long as the flu virus is spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout the flu season.  Moreover, the vaccination is not only for the people who do not have flu; even those who are ill with flu can benefit from the vaccination.  This is because the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses. In any case, please consult your doctor before getting the shot.

What is National Influenza Vaccination Week?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established National Influenza Week (NIVW) in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccinations in the flu seasons.  The NIVW this year is scheduled to be from Dec 4 to 10, 2016.  CDC chooses December for NIVW to remind people that holiday cheer is hard to enjoy lying sick in bed.

Who is at the most risk?

People at high risk include children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people aged 65 years and older.  NIVW focuses on communicating the importance of flu vaccinations to these people, because getting vaccinated is especially important for them.  Flu can lead to hospitalization and even death for people at high risk.

Where can I find more information on NIVW?

To get more information on NIVW, CDC has developed a number of resources to aid vaccination efforts during NIVW. For more information you can:

Medicare beneficiaries should contact Medicare Preventive Services at www.medicare.gov, or www.medigap.org to learn more about getting flu shots.

This is not a complete description of Medicare or the services provided.  For more information and to speak with a Medicare specialist, contact Medigap, Inc. at 1-855-214-4404.

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw/about.htm

https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/flu-shots.html

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