Published On: Sun, Dec 7th, 2014

I Am Getting My Flu Shot Tomorrow, Why You Should Too.

187978738Not sure if you know this… but the CDC established National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.

NIVW is December 7-13, 2014 and I was made aware of it last year, when the CDC invited me to be advocate for their campaign. After all, I know the risks and the complications of an untreated flu… having almost lost my life a few years back due to complications with pneumonia.

Since 2011, I have made sure that I have vaccinated myself for the Flu to avoid any further issues with my health.

While in San Francisco (with the sniffles), I spoke to Dr Fierro once more and like always I learned some new things about the vaccine.

I committed to the good Dr. that I would make a call on Friday and make an appointment to get my shot. Would you do the same? Take the pledge!

First I learned that Flu vaccines made to protect against three different flu viruses (called “trivalent” vaccines) are available this season. In addition, flu vaccines made to protect against four different flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines) also are available. Thy also come in a nasal mist now… for those like me that hate needles.

I also found out that I am at a higher risk because of my Type 2 Diabetes. Other groups in the high risk pool are young children, pregnant women,people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma or heart and lung disease, and people age 65 years and older. A full list of “People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications” is available at

This season has the potential to be the one of the most deadly Flu season in recent memory, stop buy your Dr, Pharmacy or clinic today to protect yourself.

Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Fierro, MD serves as Medical Director of The Cardiology Center, LLC as well as President of Hispanic American Medical Association of Louisiana (HAMAL). He is also the founder and president of Doctors to the Rescue, a New Orleans based group of about 15 area physicians who travel to rural Latin American villages to provide hands-on advanced medical care several times a year. Dr. Rodriguez-Fierro has also served as President of Jefferson Parish Medical Society and the ACC Foundation. He is currently serving as Board Member for the New Orleans Heritage Foundation.

This is what I just learned but that does not mean that there isn’t confusion out there so I figured I can share some of the things that I learned last year when Dr. Fierro chatted with me…


Is it too late to get the Flu Vaccine?

No. Vaccination can still be beneficial as long as flu viruses are circulating. CDC recommends that providers begin to offer flu vaccination soon after vaccine becomes available in the fall, but if you have not been vaccinated by Thanksgiving (or the end of November), it can still be protective to get vaccinated in December or later. Flu is unpredictable and seasons can vary. Seasonal flu disease usually peaks in January or February most years, but disease can occur as late as May.

Can the Flu Vaccine actually give you the Flu?

No… this is a common misconception. The vaccine is made of inactive properties from the flu. The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur. These symptoms are way less severe than someone that has contracted the Influenza virus. The symptoms are likely a reaction from your body creating antibodies to fight the Flu.

Children should not get the Flu Vaccine if they are under 3 years old.

CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine. The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season, even if you were vaccinated in prior years. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related  hospitalizations and deaths. The vaccine is a safe way to protect yourself from the flu and potentially  serious complications, like pneumonia. Millions of people have safely received flu vaccines for decades.

Do Hispanic / Latino patients run a bigger risk for Flu Infection?

Not just because they are Latino (genetically) but because many Hispanic patients tend to use home remedies (remedios caseros) and wait a little longer to get medical attention. By the time they actually get medical attention, they run greater risk for other complications. Another driving factor may be access to affordable health care. this is even a better reason for them to get vaccinated.

My question… is the vaccine safe for Diabetics?

If you have diabetes,you have a greater risk of developing pneumonia by itself or after the flu, so if you have not previously received a pneumococcal vaccination, you should also get a pneumococcal vaccination. Pneumococcal vaccines are safe and effective for people with diabetes and you cannot get pneumonia from the pneumococcal vaccine. A pneumococcal vaccination, if not previously received, along with a yearly flu shot, is a key part of managing your diabetes. For more information on the adult immunization schedule, visit:

Read more:



Have you gotten your flu vaccine? It's not too late! It's National Influenza Vaccination Week.

Still not convinced?  Find Out If You Are Potentially at Risk by reading: People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications” is available at

You ready? 

Take the CDC Flu Vaccination Pledge for the 2014-2015 season! The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year. Everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated. –>

Read more:

Disclosure: This post is part of a paid campaign for the CDC NIVW Week.

I Am Getting My Flu Shot Tomorrow, Why You Should Too.