Flu shot may not be as effective this year

Published 8:02 pm Thursday, December 11, 2014

By Blake Deshazo

The Selma Times-Journal

The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous time, but some people might not feel so bright and merry thanks to the flu.

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Influenza season is here, and doctors and pharmacists are encouraging people to get vaccinated.

“The earlier people get vaccinated, the better off they are,” said Tim Williamson, a pharmacist at Carter Drugs. “Pretty much anybody can get the flu.”

But how effective is the vaccine? Last week, the Center for Disease Control announced that this year’s vaccination may not work as well against some of the strains of the virus going around this season.

“Getting a flu vaccine isn’t 100 percent,” Williamson said. “There are years where it’s better than others, but it just depends on what strain is out there.”

While the vaccine may not protect people entirely, doctors and pharmacists recommend people still get vaccinated.

“Even if a different strand comes out, then there is a high probability (the vaccine) will help you,” said Kim McHugh with Carter Drugs.

Williamson said he has only seen one person come into the pharmacy recently that got the flu after getting the vaccine, but that could be for a number of reasons.

“The treatment for it isn’t any good if the person has had it for three or four days,” Williamson said.

Getting the flu can be especially dangerous for children under 5, the elderly, pregnant women and anyone with certain chronic conditions or weakened immune systems.

“For people with chronic health conditions it can be deadly,” McHugh said. “Those people are high risk, and they should always have a flu vaccine early on to prevent getting influenza because they can die from it.”

For more information on the flu virus, go to the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov.