It’s October first and with the start of the new month comes the start of renewed efforts by health officials reminding Iowans to get their flu shots. Kris Stapp, clinical manager for the Visiting Nurse Association, says it’s a good idea to get the vaccine earlier, rather than later.
Stapp says: “The flu season isn’t typically until later fall or the winter, so we’ve got a little time but sometimes people will put that off and we want them to get in so they can be protected. A few years, we have been surprised where flu season has been early, in October, sometimes the end of October, and then we have people out and about in the community that haven’t been protected yet and that’s not a good plan.”
And for Iowans who aren’t thrilled with needles, Stapp says there is good news about the inhaled form of the flu vaccine. “Up until this year, Flu-Mist had to be kept frozen up until it was administered but they, in the past year, made some changes in the formulation so it can be refrigerated, which works much better for us when we are out in the community so much,” according to Stapp.
Stapp says there is another change for Flu-Mist which is being made available to a much wider audience. Stapp says, “This year, for the first time, with the new data from the research that’s been done, they have approved Flu-Mist for two-year-olds up through (age) 49 so we have a new group out there that will be able to receive a flu vaccination other than injection.”
Stapp says flu shot clinics will be starting up very soon all over Iowa, adding, there should be plenty of vaccine available this season.