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Flu season around the corner
No shortage of vaccine
The influenza (or flu) season has begun and vaccines are available around town.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC ) website (http://www.cdc.gov) the flu is spread through airborne droplets when people talk, cough, or sneeze and attacks the respiratory system. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older should be vaccinated. Symptoms of the disease include cough, sore throat and fever or feverish chills.
Tulare County Health and Human Services is hosting a number of clinics throughout the county.
“The best way to protect against influenza is to get a flu vaccine every flu season. Getting vaccinated as soon as possible provides protection in case the flu season comes early and it will protect you throughout the entire flu season,” said Kate Fuehne, the Administrative Specialist at Tulare County Health & Human Services, in an e-mail. The only cases reported in the county so far have been those of a variant strain detected in pigs, in the Midwest, that spread to humans through contact.
Last year, Sierra View District Hospital gave roughly 2,000 vaccinations to staff, patients and community members.
“Not only from the hospital perspective, but as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control flu vaccines are the number one defense against getting the virus,” said Ramona Contreras, the director of marketing at Sierra View District Hospital.
Betty Jones, the director of infection prevention and a registered nurse at Sierra View, agreed.
“With influenza, like many other viruses, the number one way to prevent flu is an annual flu vaccination. The vaccination is designed to prevent three influenza viruses,” stated Jones in a prepared statement that was sent to The Recorder.
The hospital will host vaccine clinics over the next few months.
Other vaccination sites include some area pharmacies and there is no report of a vaccine shortage as has been the case in some past years.
So far at the Target pharmacy, 50 vaccines have been given out. Walk-ins are welcome and vaccines are given year round. The shots are $28, with medicare it is free and for those with insurance the cost varies.
Pharmacist Jerry Nagata recommends that kids ages 4 and up receive the vaccine.
The whole process takes about 15 to 20 minutes and involves filling out forms.
However, according to Nagata, those with allergies, especially eggs, cannot receive the vaccine.
“The vaccine has an egg base to it,” said Nagata.
The shots are good for one year.
At Walgreen’s, the shots are $31.99 and walk-ins are also welcome. The procedure is the same. Pharmacist Amgad Boulus recommends that the vaccine should be given in the fall.
However, patients can receive it year round.
At Walmart, the vaccines will be given out on Monday and Tuesday. Walk-ins are also welcome and the shots are free to those with Medicare Part B. Pharmacist Wayne Rappleye recommends that the elderly and adult population receive it.
“To lessen the possibility of the flu and to prevent flu symptoms,” said Rappleye.
At CVS pharmacy at 53 E. Olive Ave., walk-ins are also welcome and flu shots are given daily. They are $32 and are free to Medicare Part B recipients.
Zanai Guitterez, a pharmacy technician, recommends the vaccine.
“It protects you from the flu,” said Guitterez.
Vaccines are available at most retail pharmacies, including Rite Aid.