As we approach the 2011-2012 flu season, supplies of flu vaccine are now available in the state of Kansas.


     As we approach the 2011-2012 flu season, supplies of flu vaccine are now available in the state of Kansas. Certain providers are starting flu clinics as early as this week and will continue to offer the vaccine throughout the influenza season. Flu season can begin as early as October. Its severity and timing are impossible to predict and may vary widely from year to year.
     “Many people see October as the official start of the flu season and wait to get vaccinated at that time,” said Mike Parson, KDHE immunizations outreach coordinator, in a news release. “The flu vaccine will offer protection throughout the entire flu season and not wear out, so by getting the vaccine now you are providing yourself the best protection by the beginning of October.”  
     This fall, everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated against flu, even if they got vaccinated last season. By getting the flu vaccine, you can protect yourself from influenza and may also avoid spreading influenza to others.
     It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. There are two types of influenza vaccine:
     • Attenuated influenza vaccine contains live but weakened influenza virus and is sprayed into the nostrils. If you’re phobic about needles and you’re between 2 and 49 years of age, ask your health provider about the nasal spray vaccine. It’s just as safe and just as effective as the injection, and it may be the right vaccine for you.
     • The second is the inactivated (killed) influenza vaccine, or “flu shot,” which is given by injection with a needle.
     "There is no reason to wait until flu season hits before getting a flu shot,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary. “Get the flu vaccine as soon as it’s available in your community to protect yourself and your family throughout the flu season.”