Health officials say it's not too early to get flu shot

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GRAYSON CO., TX – The Centers for Disease Control has already produced and distributed thousands of flu vaccines, as health officials say it’s not too early to get your flu shot.

Dr. Kim Torres, a pharmacist at Walgreens in Sherman, has already received the first batch of the new flu vaccine for their store.

"This year we got the shipment early, they decided to roll it out a lot early, the CDC, because last year there was such a high demand,” said Torres.

She's already given well over 40 shots in the month of August, and expects the demand to drastically increase next month, along with more shipments of the vaccine.

"So we're going to have plenty of vaccines for this season alone,” she said.

This year the CDC is recommending that everyone over six months old get the flu vaccine, especially children. Grayson County Health Department nurse Denise Wardell said that's because the H1N1 and regular flu had a stronger affect on younger kids last year.

"It's very, very important that our kids vaccinated that will be our predominant flu, it has remained the predominant flu. So we're really pushing that kids get in and get it,” said Wardell.

New this year, you only have to get one shot instead of two to be fully protected. The 2010 – 2011 vaccine has the H1N1 and regular influenza strands, as well as a new strand, the H2N3.

"So with that being said, you're covering for the H1N1 from the previous year and what they think it might mutate into this year,” explained Torres.

And with school back in session, health officials say this is the time to start getting the vaccine. It’s better to stay ahead of the game than wait until flu season is already in full swing. It can take two to four weeks for a vaccination to be full effective.

Children must have other immunization shots before returning to school as well. And the Health Department was also at Austin College for their first day back Thursday, making sure they had the proper shots and were pushing the flu shot at the same time.

"Most vaccinations take at least 2 weeks for you to build your immune system once you get the vaccine and that's part of the reason meningitis has to be before school starts,” said Denise.

You can get your flu shot now at any pharmacy, health department or physician’s office. The Grayson County Health Department said they will have a big push in the fall, with its “drive-in” flu shots on October 16th, 2010, at Loy Lake Park.

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