Health Topic: Influenza
Influenza is another word for flu. This is a serious disease caused by a virus that spreads easily. It causes fever, chills, cough,
fatigue, aches, or loss of appetite. When you get the flu, you can also get bronchitis or pneumonia. In rare cases, people die from
Both flu and pneumonia are a big problem for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). Between 2002 and 2004, the number of
deaths from flu and pneumonia in AI/AN people was one and a half times higher than all other races.
To lower your chances of getting the flu, you should get an influenza immunization every year, as described below.
What is an influenza immunization?
The immunization for influenza (flu) can be given with a shot or a nasal spray. It protects against certain types of flu virus. In
most cases, this immunization will keep you from getting the flu or giving it to others.
Who should get this immunization?
Anyone age 50 or older should get the flu shot or flu nasal spray every year. Anyone who has diabetes or another serious disease
should get a flu shot. Children 6 months to 18 years of age should get a flu shot also. Finally, people of any age who want to
protect themselves and others from flu should get a flu shot each year.
Some people with allergies, illness or age should not get a flu shot. It is best to ask your doctor if you need a flu
shot before getting one.
Why is getting an influenza immunization important?
Getting a flu shot lowers your chances of getting the flu. Thousands of people die each year because of the flu. This could be
prevented with the flu shot.
Why do I need to get an influenza immunization every year?
Flu viruses change every year. Every year a new shot is made to protect you against the changing flu viruses. If the flu viruses
stays the same and does not change, the shot only gives protection for one year. You need to get the flu immunization every year to
make sure you are protected.
What is the GPRA measure?
The GPRA measure is the percentage of IHS AI/AN patients ages 65 and older who received an influenza immunization (flu shot) during the year.
How is IHS doing?
The United States long-term goal is for 90.0% of non-institutionalized high-risk adults aged 65 years and older were vaccinated against seasonal influenza each year by the year 2020 (Healthy People 2020). The IHS 2012 goal was to achieve the rate of 63.4% for the proportion of non-institutionalized adults aged 65 years and older who receive an influenza immunization each year. IHS exceeded the goal by reaching 65.0%. The bars on the graph below show that IHS has raised the rate from 51% in 2002 to 65.0% in 2012. However, beginning in 2010 refusals was removed from the rates. So, the 2002-2009 rates cannot be compared with the 2010-2012 rates.
View a table of this chart's data.
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To see how IHS is doing on this measure at the Area (regional) levels,