Doctor Urge Early Vaccinations As Flu Season Approaches

Henrietta Brewer
September 29, 2018

Some studies have shown that the protective antibodies produced in response to the vaccine can decrease over time.

"Flu is what we call an equal opportunity infector-anyone can get the flu", said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health with the Northern Kentucky Health Department. Flu season, when the highest number of illnesses emerge, generally tends to run from October to March in the U.S. She added, "across the board, previous year was definitely bad".

"The vaccine is not flawless", said Schaffner.

"It can, however, cause mild, short-lasting side effects, but it doesn't give you the flu", she said, adding that there can be minor side effects such as a low-grade fever, aches and soreness at the injection site.

The start of influenza season is around the corner. Vaccines typically come in trivalent (protecting against three viruses - two A-strains and one B-strain) or quadrivalent (protecting against four strains - two A-strains and two B-strains).

Miller County Health officials made tackling the flu season a lot easier Wednesday with a drive-by flu clinic.

This year's trivalent vaccines will protect against the A/Michigan strain, an H1N1-like virus; A/Singapore, an H3N2-like virus; and B/Colorado (Victoria lineage), while the quadrivalent vaccine will also protect against the B/Phuket strain (Yamagata lineage). This means it's best to get the vaccine before flu season begins to have full immune benefits.

Even if a vaccine isn't a flawless match for the year's strains, she said, it's still a good idea to get the shot because the antibodies people produce as a result will protect against the circulating strains and similar ones.

Convenience plays a big role in ensuring as many people as possible get a shot.

"That waning of immunity has not been substantial enough to recommend a delay in the kickoff for getting vaccines", he said.

Those who do miss out on the early shots, however, should get one when they can. Especially important for children, older adults, pregnant women, those with lung disease or other chronic medical conditions.

Locally, both Riverside and Sentara are offering flu shot clinics.

Riverside Doctors' Hospital lobby, 1500 Commonwealth Ave., Williamsburg - 8 noon October 11.

Riverside Regional Medical Center main lobby, 500 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News - 9 1 p.m. November 3.

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