Health Officials Recommend Shots Before Flu Season Arrives

10/16/12 5:50PM By Charlotte Albright
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The leaves are barely off the trees,  but public health officials say it's already time for your flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants anyone older than six months to receive the vaccine.

A CDC map doesn't show the seasonal flu taking hold in Vermont quite yet, but Vermont's Immunization Program Director Christine Finley says it's not too early to guard against it.

 "You never know when it's going to hit and so as we begin to see an outbreak here or there, we don't know when we're going to see it and it takes two weeks' time to build immunity to flu," she warns.

Flu shots were once thought to be 80 to 90 percent effective in preventing the disease.

But Finley concedes that figure may be closer to 60 percent.

 "I think there's a very big concern among the medical community and public health, if you've got something that is 60-70 percent effective, if you give up on that, the potential risk of flu could be great," she says.

So are you  holding  off getting the shot until later in the fall, thinking its effects may wear off before the flu season is over? Finlay says "think again."

While predicting each season's strain is never fool-proof,  she says research suggests that this year's shot is a good match for the illness to come. And she says it won't fade too early.

However, she says a few people - including those with egg allergies - shouldn't get immunized, so your provider should be up to date on your health history. 

In addition to the shot, Finley urges people to practice sanitary health habits and, if they do get sick, to stay home to avoid infecting others.

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