Flu Vaccination Update – A H1N1, Swine Flu, Seasonal Flu Non-Technical Update
Flu season is fast approaching and as of this writing, the new flu vaccines have just become available and the first batches delivered to health care facilities around the United States. This year we are facing some unique challenges in preparing ourselves for the coming influenza season. Not only will we collectively suffer the regular seasonal flu, but we also expect to see a rise in the 2009 H1N1 virus (aka Swine Flu) this fall and winter. What this means for us, is that we are all advised to get two vaccinations, seasonal and H1N1. At this time, the seasonal flu vaccine is readily available and is actively distributed and administered to the general public, while the H1N1 vaccine, is only available in limited supply and being reserved for health care workers and people at greater risk of having severe complications of the swine flu. These “priority groups” were identified by the Centers for Disease Control and include pregnant women,household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months old, all people aged 6 months to 24 years, and people aged 25 through 64 years with chronic health conditions. If your not on one of these groups, fear not. As more H1N1 vaccine becomes available this fall, it will be accessible to all.
In study after study, the vaccines have been proven to be well tolerated with the number one side effect being soreness at the injection area. You may get mild early flu symptoms but that is not as common as in years past with the older flu vaccines. You should NOT be vaccinated if you have allergies to chicken eggs or any other substance use to create the vaccines. If however you don’t have any allergies, the seasonal vaccine is currently being recommended for just about everyone. It is especially important for ages 6mo to 18 years of age, those with chronic diseases, especially with cardiac or pulmonary disease, immune compromised patients, pregnant women, nursing homes and elderly.
Most counties offer free or very low cost seasonal vaccinations. There are even drive through vaccinations available in many areas. Don’t hesitate this year. Protect yourself, your family and friends, your co-workers and your community. Get a flu shot today!