TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) With an average 23,000 flu-related deaths in the U.S. every year, Stormont-Vail Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist Dr. JoAnn Harris says a flu vaccination is vital.
Harris describes it as a "herd immunity." She says once enough people in the herd, or community, get the vaccine, the virus can't take hold and doesn't spread as far. In that way, she says, a flu shot protects not only the person immunized, but also all they people with whom they and those around them come in contact.
With that in mind, the Centers for Disease Control has a bottom-line approach this year to who should get a flu vaccine. Dr. Harris says the new recommendation is not just high-risk groups, but for everyone six months of age and older to get an influenza vaccination.
Not only that, but people are adviced to roll up their sleeves earlier - as soon as it's available. The vaccine is now shown effective a full 12 months, so no need to worry about getting it too early.
Dr. Harris says the theory of prevention is to do it before the potential event occurs. If you wait to get the vaccination until during flu season, iyou could already have been exposed and the vaccine won't prevent if already exposed.
Stormont-Vail Flu Shot Clinics
Stormont-Vail's drive thru flu shot clinics start September 13th in the Surgical Suites parking garage, off Garfield between SW 9th and 10th Streets. They will be held from 9 am to 3 pm, Sept. 13-15 and 20-22. The clinics are for Cotton-O'Neil patients ages 18 and older.
PediatricCare has a walk-in clinics scheduled for children ages 6 months to 17 from 5 to 8 pm, Sept. 13 and 21 at its location at 4100 SW 15th.
The flu shot clinic schedule and the forms that need to be filled out are posted at www.stormontvail.org.