Gearing up for next year’s flu
March 14, 2012
This column appears in Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Carson City is in the midst of the 2011-2012 flu season, but already, public health officials across the country, including here in Nevada, are preparing for the arrival of the 2012-2013 flu. Recently, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee announced the strains of flu virus that will be in next year’s flu vaccine. Unlike the 2011-2012 vaccine that included the same three strains two years in a row, this vaccine will be different. The H1N1 flu will be included once again, but the other two strains will be new. Because new strains are included, it will be important for people to get a flu shot in the fall once the new vaccine is available to protect against the new strains.
How do they decide what strains to include in a flu vaccine?
Every year, disease detectives conduct surveillance to see which types of flu are circulating and making people sick around the world. They use this information to forecast which strains are most likely to be around when flu season hits the following year. Like a weather forecast, the flu forecast is not always right. The forecasters are making an educated guess about what is going to happen 6-8 months in the future, because that’s about how long it takes to make a vaccine. Trying to determine that far in advance what is going to happen can be difficult, but usually the flu shot does a great job of protecting people from becoming sick.
Now that the FDA has decided what strains of flu to put in the vaccine, manufacturers can begin formulating and producing flu vaccine. In the coming months, healthcare professionals and health departments, like Carson City Health and Human Services, will once again plan their flu vaccine programs for fall.
Remember, a flu vaccine is still the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu!
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Stay tuned for more information about when the new flu vaccine will be available here in Carson City, and plan to vaccinate your family.
Carson City Health and Human Services
900 E. Long St., Carson City
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday; call for an appointment
Well-child visits: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays
Men’s clinic: 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays; call for appointment
Immunization day: 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.; 1 to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays; no appointment needed
Douglas County Community Health
1538 Highway 395 North
(Corner of Spruce Street and Cemetery Lane)
Call 775-782-9038 for more information.