Although influenza doesn’t usually unleash its battery of fever, chills and body aches until colder weather arrives, midstate health officials are urging people to go ahead and get their flu shots now.
The 13-county North Central Health District, which includes Bibb, Houston, Peach, Jones and Monroe counties, has been receiving shipments of this year’s vaccine for the past couple of weeks, said Dr. David Harvey, district health director. That’s about two or three weeks earlier than the district typically receives vaccines, he said.
This year’s shot contains vaccine for two flu viruses and an H1N1, or swine flu, vaccine.
“Even if you had the H1N1 vaccine recently, we still encourage you to get this year’s seasonal vaccine because of the protection you will receive for the two additional flu strains,” Harvey said.
Last year, that combination was delivered in two injections, but this year, it’s been combined, Harvey said.
In addition, there’s a version of the flu shot designed for people 65 and older which has an increased antigen, Harvey said, because some people that age have trouble producing the antibodies necessary to fight off the flu.
“People older than 65 often don’t have the antibodies, so they have the option (of the other shot),” he said. “We recommend that they take the higher dose.”
James and Luann Rogers of Macon took their physician’s recommendation of getting a flu shot and have done so for the past three years. Wednesday afternoon, they stopped by the Macon-Bibb County Health Department for the annual vaccine.
“We’ve had no problems with it before,” said Luann Rogers, 77, who was told about potential side effects that could include aches and fever. “We don’t want to get the flu.”
James Rogers, 81, a retired Marine who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, joked that during his service time, doctors had a different approach as to where they injected the needles.
“In 24 years in the Marine Corps, we didn’t get them in the arm,” he said with a chuckle.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.