Flu shots protect against new strains

By: Brian Shlonsky Email
By: Brian Shlonsky Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO)-- Flu season is here, and experts say if you plan on getting a flu shot, you may be better protected this year.

Last year's shot won't protect you anymore, because there are new strains of influenza around this year. Health officials say each year, the hope is that the shot will protect against the new strains, and this year, it looks like the updated vaccine does just that.

"I get the flu shot every year, just because I have to. My mom and my grandmother both do it. All three of us go together," Grand Junction resident Cheryl Trumbo said.

But before the shots come out, the World Health Organization determines what strains of influenza the shot will protect against.

"Through surveillance they determine by monitoring the other hemispheres, what strains are going to be most likely of greatest risk to those in the United States," Karen Martsolf with the Mesa County Department of Health and Human Services said.

This year, the shot guards against three strains, two of which have already been found in Colorado, something officials say is good news if you're planning to get the shot.

"You're always hoping that you get the right strains of flu in your vaccine, and it looks like that's happened this year, so if people go out and they get the shot this year, odds are they are going to be really healthy through the winter,” public relations officer for the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center Paul Sweeney said.

Sweeney said already this year, the VA hospital has had an overwhelming amount of veterans show up for their shot.

"Last year we almost had to hunt people down with a blow dart, this year people were pounding on our doors weeks before the vaccine was expected," he said.

But even with a revamped formula, not everyone plans on getting in line for the vaccine.

"Try to keep just simple as possible, and everything just seems to get more complicated, and we like to keep it simple," Lisa Moore said.

Moore said keeping her three young boys healthy isn't always easy, but she prefers to stick with hand washing and over-the-counter meds to keep her boys from getting sick.

"We just stick to the basics, and like I said, I just like to keep them tough. If they get hurt, then they get a band-aid, and they move on. Same with getting sick," Moore said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending again this year that everyone six months of age and older get the flu shot, and it says the vaccine is the first and best defense against the flu.

If you're interested in getting the flu shot, the Mesa County Health Department is offering them now. The injectible vaccine costs $20, and the flu mist will run you $25.


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