The “Flu Shots Available Here” signs are starting to show up at clinics and pharmacies. Dr. Ann O’Keefe is the Senior Epidemiologist at the Douglas County Health Department and says the early push for vaccinations is not a prediction for a bad flu season. She says the flu is very unpredictable and a vaccine is needed every year because the virus constantly changes.
This year’ vaccine again contains the three strains physicians believe will impact Americans this winter. They look at what viruses are circulating in the southern hemisphere and Asia and those are the ones selected for the vaccine.
Dr. O’Keefe says there is plenty of vaccine available and recommends people get it now. It does take a week or two for the body to develop immunity so it is best to get the shot early just in case the flu makes an early arrival.
O’Keefe says the vaccination will protect an individual for the entire flu season so there isn’t a concern about it “wearing out”. However, new research shows the vaccine may not protect a senior citizen for the entire duration. They have developed a different vaccination for the elderly population that contains a stronger dose and will carry them through the season. She suggests you speak with a doctor or pharmacist to see if you are eligible for that vaccination.