Flu vaccine now available by some medical providers
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an article by local Centers for Disease Control Sentinel Physician Dr. Robert P. Blereau of Morgan City.
The flu vaccine is becoming available to medical providers in the Tri-City area.
It is never too early to get the flu vaccine, according to Robert P. Blereau, M.D., of Morgan City. The Centers for Disease Control recommends getting the flu vaccine as soon as it is available.
The only way to prevent the flu is with a flu shot, he said. “Remember, it is not 100 percent, but it is the best we have.”
The major change in the flu vaccine recommendations for this flu season is the CDC’s June 22 Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices opinion to not use the nasal flu vaccine.
This is based on little to no protection from the nasal vaccine over the past few flu seasons.
This opinion does not become an official CDC recommendation until approved by the CDC. That approval is anticipated soon.
The flu usually begins around October and peaks in January and February, but it can, and has, begun as early as August.
The flu shot is effective for the entire flu season, which ends in May.
There is no way to predict when the flu will begin, Blereau said. “There is no reason to wait thinking it loses its effectiveness later.”
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age or older with rare exceptions.
A contradiction is a previous severe allergic reaction to a component of the vaccine.
An egg-free vaccine is available for anyone with severe egg allergy.
People with a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome should not get the vaccine.
The vaccine is usually given to well persons, but a minor illness with low-grade fever is not a contradiction.
People over age 65 have the option of a high dose vaccine, which is preferred since it gives better protection without significant increase in side effects.
Check with your vaccine provider for availability of the flu vaccine, Blereau said.