Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Health Officials Ready For Flu Season

Last year, there were two shots available — one for the seasonal flu and one for the H1N1 virus. This year's vaccine protects against H1N1 plus the H3N2 virus and Influenza B strains.

And unlike last year, experts aren't expecting any delays in the vaccine's availability. This year, 165 million doses are expected to be ready nationally, compared with the 114 million last year.

Vincent Sacco, immunization program manager for the state Department of Public Health, said the state should receive 1.3 million doses of the vaccine this season. He doesn't know how much has been shipped to Connecticut so far but says it is available widely in the state.

"There was really a push to get the seasonal vaccine out as early as possible this year," Sacco said. He recommends getting immunized as soon as possible. "It's important to get it before the disease starts to be transmited."

Besides the shot, a nasal spray is also available that protects against the same three strains. Unlike the shot, which is made from a killed virus, the nasal spray consists of a live virus. The CDC says the nasal spray is safe for anyone between the ages of 2 and 49.

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