Flu Season Begins; Shot Recommended
Proactive steps can help prevent the illness
ANCHORAGE - October 1 is the official start of the flu season, at least in the Lower 48. Here in Alaska the flu may not peak for several weeks or several months but the time to get a flu shot is now.
“Wherever they routinely get their vaccines, they should go, because it's here and it is time,” said Dr. Michael Cooper with the Alaska Department of Public Health. “We recommend that as soon as the vaccine is available, even if the flu season hasn’t started in a community, it’s time to get vaccinated.”
The State Health Department is in charge of distributing the flu vaccine for underinsured children and adults. Right now all the vaccine meant for children has gone out to providers around the state, but the vaccine for underinsured adults should be coming in sometime this week.
But many stores and pharmacies already have it. At the Midtown Walgreens, pharmacist Keian Dayani said they’ve been giving flu shots since July on a walk-in basis.
“Most insurance policies cover them and there will be a short questionnaire that they’ll fill out,” said Dayani. “And upon filling that out we will just go back into the immunization room and give them the flu shot.”
Doctors say everyone who is six months of age and older should get a shot. One of the rare exceptions are those who have extreme allergies to eggs. They say the shot is safe for those who have mild allergies to eggs. They also say it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be effective once it’s given.