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Flu vaccinations now available

Vaccine recommended for anyone 6 months and older

 

By JOE ASHER

joe.asher@middlesboronews.com

 

While the COVID-19 pandemic is first in many people’s minds this year, there are still other health concerns to be aware of, such as influenza. The flu kills many people every year, but luckily, we have protections we can implement to help stave off this seasonal illness.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov, it is still important to get a flu shot even if COVID-19 is spreading in your area.

“Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season,” states the CDC website. “To protect your health when getting a flu vaccine, follow CDC’s recommendations for running essential errands and doctor visits.”

Trissa Wilder, nurse supervisor with the Bell County Health Department, emphasized the importance of receiving a flu vaccination this year.

“It’s more important than ever this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wilder said. “It’s not that it will prevent you from getting COVID-19, but there’s a possibility that you could contract both at the same time, which would be much worse.”

Wilder pointed out many of the symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are similar. She also mentioned others getting a flu shot may help protect high-risk individuals they come into contact with, such as the elderly.

Wilder said there are many locations in Bell County to receive the flu vaccine.

“You can always come to the health department and get one,” Wilder said.

She said anyone 6 months and older should receive a flu shot.

“You need to get it at the end of September or beginning of October,” Wilder said.  “Flu season usually starts in November and peaks December through February.”

Once administered, it takes the vaccine approximately two weeks to reach maximum protection levels, according to Wilder.

The CDC recommends when going to get a flu vaccine, practice everyday preventive measures, and follow the recommendations for running essential errands.  You may also ask your doctor, health department, or pharmacist if they are following CDC’s vaccination pandemic guidance. Any location following the CDC’s guidance should be a safe place for you to get a flu vaccine.

Unlike with COVID-19, there has been an influenza vaccine available for decades.

According to https://www.historyofvaccines.org the first flu vaccine was approved for civilian use in 1946. Approved for military use in 1945, the vaccine had been tested in military recruits and college students before approval. A pair of doctors later associated with the polio vaccine, Thomas Francis Jr., MD, and Jonas Salk, MD, played a large part in much of the influenza vaccine research. The development of an influenza vaccine was a top priority for the U.S. military, after approximately one in every 67 soldiers died from influenza during the pandemic of 1918 – 1919.

To receive a flu vaccination at the Bell County Health Department, just call in to make an appointment at 606-337-7046 in Pineville or 606-248-2876 in Middlesboro.