BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County health officials are reminding everyone who's eligible that it's not too early to get a flu shot.
The vaccine is strongly recommended for everyone ages six month and older this fall.
“Last year, surveillance data showed very little flu activity in New York State and the northern hemisphere,” said Dr. Burstein. “Flu vaccination rates, people at home instead of in schools and in workplaces, a decrease in travel, and mask wearing and other non-pharmaceutical interventions contributed to those low flu infection levels. Now, with most people back to school and work and less people consistently masking, flu vaccine is among the best preventive tools we have to protect us at a community level.”
Children younger than 2 and adults 65 years and older are especially at risk for flu complications and hospitalization, as well as those with chronic medical conditions such as:
- Neurologic and neurodevelopment condition
- Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
- Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
- Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
- Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
- Kidney diseases
- Liver disorders
- Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
- People who are obese with a body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher
- People with a weakened immune system due to disease (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or some cancers such as leukemia) or medications (such as those receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer, or persons with chronic conditions requiring chronic corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress the immune system)
- People who have had a stroke
- Females who are pregnant and up to 2 weeks after the end of pregnancy
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a flu shot before the end of October. It takes up to two weeks to develop antibodies. However, a flu vaccine received any time through the end of the 2021-2022 flu season will have a protective benefit.
Health officials say they've already seen diagnosed cases of flu this season. Nearly all pharmacies and many doctor's offices offer the flu vaccine. With most insurance plans, the cost is covered 100% and there is no co-pay. Some pharmacies do charge a fee.