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Health officials: Dont wait to get flu shots
Immunity takes time to develop
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Forsyth County News
Influenza season is nearly a month away, but the Forsyth County Health Department has started offering the flu vaccination to residents.

“The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] ... directed us to start Sept. 1,” said Tracy Bauer, county nurse manager.

The county will offer the flu shot from 8 to 10 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Cost is $25.

Local pharmacies and doctors offices will also be administering the vaccination.

District 2 Public Health spokesman Dave Palmer said H1NI is back.

“This year’s seasonal flu does include the H1N1 Flu from 2009 and it’s just one shot, so that will make it easier,” he said.

About 30 percent of Americans get the annual vaccination, Palmer said. He recommended anyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot, and the sooner the better.

“We’re beginning to give flu shots a little earlier so people can build their immunity up,” he said. “It takes a couple of weeks for people to build up immunity after you get the flu shot.”

Palmer also said the recent recall of more than half a billion eggs has not impacted flu vaccinations. Eggs are used in creating the vaccine.

“[This year’s] vaccine was actually started before the egg recall began, so there should not be any problem with that,” he said. “It takes about six to nine months to make a vaccine, and the eggs that are used are fertilized eggs, so those eggs were checked.”

In Georgia, flu season can run as long as October to May. According to the CDC, most infections occur in January and February.

No cases have been reported yet this season to the county’s health department, Bauer said.

Last year, the shot was in short supply and only those at higher risk, including pregnant women and those with chronic conditions like diabetes, were encouraged to get the vaccine first.

This year, Bauer said there is “a decent supply.”

“The CDC is encouraging folks to go ahead and get it as soon as they can,” she said. “As long as the flu is showing up in the community, we’ll keep giving it.”