Flu summit held in West Virginia

Health officials in West Virginia are hoping to encourage influenza immunizations by holding the state's first annual flu summit.

The summit, held at the Charleston Civic Center, kicked off yesterday and will run through today, health officials told reporters.

The event will be attended by more than 400 health care officials and providers who will work to develop strategies and promote immunization coverage for all citizens.

State Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp reported at the conference that in West Virginia alone, there are 1,200 hospitalizations and 200 deaths annually because of the flu. Slemp also note that because vaccines tend to wear off over a period of time, it is important for people to keep updated.

"Vaccines tend to protect you for a time period and then over time that protection drops off," Slemp said, according to the report.

Slemp also discussed with attendees some of the misconceptions that revolve around flu vaccinations.

“None of the flu vaccines out there can give you the flu,” Slemp told “You can't have that flu vaccine and pass on the flu to anyone else. Vaccines work, they're cost effective, they save lives and prevent disease but they only work if you use them.”