Start of flu season best time to get vaccinated

Oct 25, 2013

Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia Morrow said there are signs that the flu season is upon us. Morrow said there is one laboratory confirmed case of the flu in Onondaga County, and she's hearing reports from doctors offices about unconfirmed cases.  

Morrow said it's a good time for central New Yorkers to get their flu vaccine. She also said this year's vaccine may offer more protection than those in the past, which targeted three flu strains.

"This year some of the influenza vaccine including the flu mist, which is that nasal spray, have four strains," Morrow said. "They have two A's and two B's. So for those people who get the four-strain, there might be a little more protection this year."

Onondaga County is holding its only public flu vaccine clinic of the season on Friday. Morrow said the clinic at the Spanish Action League office in Syracuse is meant mostly for people who are uninsured, since there is no shortage of the vaccine this year.

"You can get your flu shot anywhere," Morrow said. "In the past, sometimes, access to flu vaccine was a challenge. And we wanted to make sure that that wasn't a barrier for people to get their flu shots. Because it's so widespread, you can't turn a corner without seeing flu vaccine offered here, which is a wonderful thing. So there isn't a need for the public health department to come in and fill that role."

Morrow said she suggests central New Yorkers think about getting the annual vaccine now, noting that in some cases, it might be a little more powerful. She emphasizes that the flu can be deadly, especially for the elderly and for young children, even if most people come through the flu fine.

"If I get my flu shot, I'm protecting my parents, I'm protecting any young child I have contact with," Morrow said. "I'm protecting everybody when I get my flu shot."