Clinics for the seasonal flu shot are popping up all over the Mid-Michigan area in pharmacies and other locations a month earlier than normal. The Jackson County Health Department clinic is already averaging 200 people a day. Director of Personal and Preventive Health Services Mary Ricciardello says, "We specifically tried to set up our seasonal flu clinics early mainly because of the CDC is recommending that and also because the vaccine is available earlier this year."
Some of the patients who really need to get vaccinated for this year's seasonal flu are students and children. Diane Snow is getting her vaccine early. She says, "Especially before school starts I think because it really starts moving around once school starts." Ricciardello says, "The earlier the better because children from 6 months to 18 years of age are one of the target groups for both seasonal flu and H1-N1.
Health officials suggest that you get the seasonal flu vaccine for your children and yourself early so that when the Swine Flu vaccine or H1-N1 vaccine comes out in mid-October, it will be a lot simpler to concentrate on getting the new vaccine. Ricciardello says, "The goal is to complete the seasonal flu campaign or do as much as possible before we have to turn our attention to H1-N1."
The Clinical Care Coordinator for Kroger Pharmacy of Michigan, Jim Szyskowski says, "H1-N1 is a completely separate vaccine and the idea this year is for everyone to get out early and get the basic flu vaccine because as immunizing pharmacists, and as partners in the health care community, we're not really sure what the future holds."
Meanwhile, Kroger pharmacies across Mid-Michigan started to offer seasonal flu vaccines on Tuesday. He says, "The CDC, the Centers for Disease Control has told us that it is time to do flu shots."
The seasonal flu shot will also help to boost the immune system. Although seasonal flu and H1-N1 are not the same, anyone who may have a compromised immune system may be more likely to catch either. Ricciardello says, "They are totally different viruses first of all, so it would not make them more susceptible, but certainly anyone who might have a compromised immune system might be more likely to catch either one."
As for you kids, Ricciardello says, seasonal flu vaccines are available for children starting at 6-months-old. The Jackson County Health Department will be holding another seasonal flu clinic Wednesday September 2nd from 1 pm - 7 pm. Kroger Pharmacies will be offering seasonal flu shots with no appointment necessary.