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Because he is a teenager, I have to use old photos of him.

I’ve always felt that National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW, which is this week, falls strangely late in the year. The CDC advised everyone get their flu shots before the end of October–or a month in the past. I, myself, even told people to get their flu shots before they bought their Halloween candy.

So where was I just yesterday (December 1) with my teenage son? I was at Target, getting him his flu shot. We practically snuck in there so as to avoid being caught by someone pointing out that Saint Paul’s Vaccine Lady was getting her kid vaccinated against influenza a whole month late. LATE! The shame!

Anyone with a teenager can tell you how hard it is to schedule anything. Between school, activities, and friends, sometimes we barely see our kids. I asked my son when I could bring him in to get his vaccine, and he suggested 10 pm. Unfortunately, Target isn’t open at that time.

I am braving my own guilt and possible internet shame about our tardiness to remind you that you still have time to get your whole family their flu vaccines.

It’s still very early in the season, and we do not know a lot about what this season will be like. Humans are terrible prognosticators. Just ask the weather people. But we do know a few things:

  • So far this season, five children have died from influenza.
  • Right now, most states in the U.S. are experiencing flu activity, with 9 states experiencing widespread activity.
  • Anyone can get gravely ill from influenza, but certain people are at heightened risk, especially older adults, people with diabetes, asthma, cancer, heart disease or neurological conditions, pregnant women, and young children. Get your flu vaccine for them, too.

When you get your shots, don’t forget to submit them to our photo gallery so that you can be internet famous!

The author of this piece is Karen Ernst, the Executive Director of Voices for Vaccines.

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