CDC launches National Influenza Vaccination Week

National Influenza Vaccination Week, which lasts from December 2-8, was established as a national means of highlighting the importance influenza vaccination.

Flu season generally lasts between autumn and spring, and the vaccine usually takes up to two weeks before becoming fully active. It lasts approximately one year and protects against the three most prevalent virus strains during the season, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC launches National Influenza Vaccination Week every year. It usually takes place in early December as means of reminding the public that the onset of the holiday season does not mean that it is too late to be vaccinated.

Each day during National Influenza Vaccination Week, the CDC posts a new blog entry discussing influenza and the influenza vaccine as it pertains to different risk groups. The CDC also holds a series of Twitter chats and is asking the public to make an online pledge to be vaccinated and to encourage others to do the same.

Officials from the CDC recently said the influenza season has started earlier this year than at any time in the last decade. Suspected flu cases have jumped in five southern states and the primary circulating strain is one that has a tendency to make people, especially the elderly, very sick.

"It looks like it's shaping up to be a bad flu season, but only time will tell," Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, CBS News reports.