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The flu season is approaching and this year’s shots are more important than ever, Alaskan health officials say




Cool weather and short days mean that the flu season is imminent.

With Alaska Hospital I’m nervous now With a record number of COVID-positive patients, state health officials will be vaccinated against influenza this week to protect individual people and the state’s vulnerable medical system from yet another highly contagious respiratory disease. I emphasized the importance of that.

“There aren’t many beds, so there’s more reason to get a flu shot this year,” Dr. Annezink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, said in a phone call to reporters this week.

Last year’s flu season was mild. Does that mean you don’t need a flu shot this year?

Alaska Last year it was reported that the number of cases of influenza decreased significantly. More than any flu season in recent history.

Between October 2020 and late February 2021, less than 100 cases of influenza were identified throughout the state. Compiled data According to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.For comparison, the previous year — during the period described as Relatively mild flu season — That number was close to 400. And the year before that, it was close to 1,200.

“I think all mitigation measures, all masking, and people really keeping the bubbles small have affected all respiratory infections,” said Alaska Health Department epidemiologist Luisa Castrodale this week. Stated.

However, some studies predict that this year’s flu season may be worse than normal.Those studies include: Two recent unpeer-reviewed preprints Published by the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health.

The researchers hypothesize that innate immunity may weaken, leading to more serious cases this fall and winter, as last year’s flu season was virtually non-existent. As schools reopen and people return to much of their pre-pandemic activity, the virus will also have more opportunities to spread.

When it comes to influenza, it’s often difficult to predict the future, but this year it’s important to get the flu no matter what, Castrodale said.

“I learned that the flu never predicts because I know what I want to do,” she said.

Conclusion: “We want people to be vaccinated to minimize their impact on hospitalization and death in our community,” she said.

But influenza is less deadly than COVID-19, isn’t it? Why are you vaccinated against the flu?

So far, it is considered less deadly than COVID-19, but influenza kills and sick thousands of people each year.

Although the last season of influenza in Alaska and across the country was mild, more than 740,000 people were sent to hospitals across the country, with 24,000 to 62,000 deaths, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There is no 100% effective vaccine, but vaccination against the flu helps prevent yourself and your higher-risk friends and family, especially infants and the elderly, from being hospitalized or dying from the flu. It has long been considered the best method. say.

Who should be vaccinated against the flu?

People over 6 months should be vaccinated against the flu because of a previous rare and severe reaction, unless the doctor specifically recommends it. Alaska Department of Health and Social Services..

When is the best time to get a flu shot? How can I get it?

Official recommendations From CDC People should ideally be vaccinated by the end of October — and mid-September is a great time for most people to be shot, officials say.

Children under 6 months of age, or children who are vaccinated against the flu for the first time, should be vaccinated as soon as possible. This is because two doses are required, the second usually given at least 4 weeks after the first. It can take several weeks for your immunity to build up. Therefore, these shots are recommended early rather than later.

Early vaccination can also be considered for people in late pregnancy. This is to help protect the baby during the first few months of life when the baby is too young to be vaccinated.

The state purchased about 150,000 flu vaccines this year, which does not include additional over-the-counter supplies, said Matt Bobo, immunization manager at the State Department of Health.

“You can ask your healthcare provider about which pharmacy to go to and where to get the vaccine,” he said.

Is it okay to get a flu shot at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. The CDC recently stated that it is safe to receive both vaccines at the same time. (If you are in quarantine or quarantine for COVID-19, you will have to wait for influenza vaccination until you are fully recovered or quarantined.)

It is recommended to put each vaccine in a different arm to reduce the pain and swelling that may occur.




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