Flu shot season begins

Staff writer

Flu vaccines are available at the Marion County Health Department Office on Wednesdays, starting this week, according to health department nurse Deidre Serene.

“We won’t have any shortage this year, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t important to get vaccinated,” Serene said. “We have both the mist and the shots available.”

This fall the Center for Disease Control recommends everyone 6 months or older get vaccinated against the flu, even if they were vaccinated last year.

Serene said the vaccine was specifically for the respiratory flu, not the intestinal kind.

“The vaccines are actually manufactured in January and February each year,” Serene said. “The CDC predicts what kind strain of vaccine will be most effective, and that is what we give. They are usually pretty effective.”

Gary Duerksen of Goessel went to Goessel Elementary Sept. 24 to get a flu vaccination along with his son, Zach. He said the shot made him feel so bad he may never want to get another one.

“I know they say you are not supposed to get sick from a flu shot, but I certainly had some kind of reaction,” Duerksen said.

Duerksen, 50, said he was surprised to learn at the school that he could not get the mist vaccine, but because of his age had to get the shot. Then, eight hours later, he experienced headache, chills, and fever.

“I went to bed and didn’t get up until 3 p.m. the next day,” he said. “If it wasn’t from the flu shot I don’t know what it was from. I wasn’t sick at all when I went in.”

Serene said it was not uncommon to have a reaction to a flu shot, but likely Duerksen’s illness was not related to his flu vaccine.

“The shots are made from synthetic substances,” she said. “It would take 10 to 14 days for the exposure to cause anything to happen.”

Serene did say that since the shot was given in the muscle like other vaccinations, illness from nerves or other sources could be exacerbated.

“The shots differ in their makeup each year, so sometimes people just feel differently after they get them,” she said.

Scientists make flu vaccines with eggs, and people with egg allergies should not get them. However, for all others, the vaccinations are important to prevent more serious illness should a flu epidemic strike the country.

Serene said that flu vaccinations of either type were perfectly safe, even for pregnant women.

She also explained that the nasal mist contains a live vaccine, and the injectable shot is made from synthetics.

“The immune system of babies and older people over 50 is not as strong,” she said. “That is why they are not given the live-viral mist option.”

She also said people with asthma or suppressed immune systems should opt for the shot instead of the mist vaccination.

Serene predicted there would be no shortage of flu vaccine available this year and her office in Marion will be open on Wednesday specifically for those wanting flu shots or nasal spray mist.

“We are doing clinics at schools and communities in the county on other days,” she said. “But we will be here starting this Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 12, and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. to vaccinate the public.”

Serene said flu vaccination clinics will take place Friday at the Marion Senior Center for the Marion community, Monday at Centre school for the Lincolnville and Tampa communities, and Tuesday at the Florence City Building in Florence.

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